Latino Educational Training Institute
Latino Leadership Initiative

2020 Orientation January 4, Skagit Valley College

This year's program has concluded with graduation June 4. Please contact us during fall 2020 regarding the 2021 program.

Since December, 2013, and continuing through the ensuing spring semesters, we have offered a comprehensive leadership program concurrent with regional community college schedules. Students from all our sponsoring colleges are eligible.

The Latino Leadership Initiative promotes leadership development and community engagement among young Latinos in Washington.

We seek to encourage college and university students to assume leadership in projects that encourage our communities to increase the rate of high school graduation, to promote college attendance and completion, and to support the pursuit of success and achievement among Latino professionals.

We are currently active in Washington State's Skagit and Snohomish Counties, which border Puget Sound's eastern shore, north of Seattle and south of the Canadian border.


This effort is a response to the need for educated young Latinos who are both familiar with traditional society and proficient in modern technology-based skills. Our main goal is to put young Latinos/Latinas on a path to become leaders and serve their broader communities at school, family, church, neighborhood, town and state levels.


It is widely acknowledged that in coming decades Latinos will become a larger segment of the population in the US, and Washington State is experiencing the same trend. Latinos are the largest minority in Washington State and even a majority in some counties and cities. For example in Pasco, Latinos comprised about 56% of the total population in 2010. In addition, the median age of Latinos in 2010 was 23 years in contrast to 37 years among the entire population of the state.

Just these two facts have deep implications for the future of the state, yet regrettably Latinos fall behind all other groups in educational achievement. They have the highest dropout rate and very low participation in civic, political, and community activities. There are many reasons as to why this occurs (lack of role models or mentors, weak organizations, cultural barriers, etc.), but an important one is the need for more Latino leaders at all levels.

Even with this lack of visibility and participation, the contributions of Latinos are significant including the economically, culturally and linguistically. Their leadership is also present at the family and community level and in different ways other than mainstream leadership models.

To further involve this young population group in mainstream society, a broad base of community leaders and supporters was called to discuss how to create a program that could energize the Latino community and expand the leadership base in three counties. Representatives from several Puget Sound agencies and organizations joined the effort. After various brainstorming meetings, the group approved the development of a leadership curriculum for college and university students.

The initiative was developed by Rosario Reyes, President of the Latino Education & Training Institute (LETI), Dr. Jean Hernandez, President of Edmonds Community College, and Mel Cossette, STEM advocate for the college in an effort to support, expand, and propel the leadership development work that LETI has been doing for the last 12 years. Together they hope to take the work to new levels in which the community impacts become significant and sustainable. LETI was delegated to coordinate the project.

Project Partners

Community Colleges of Snohomish, Skagit and Whatcom; The Mexican Consulate of Seattle; Washington State University Extension; The Latino Business, Retention and Expansion Program of Skagit County; faith organizations; business leaders; independent businesspersons and individuals.


Accounting and office services provided by Las Americas Business Center, Lynnwood, WA.

Internet services provided by Clark Internet.

See our Sponsors gallery to learn more about major contributors.

Steering Committee

Rosario Reyes
LETI Founder and President
Rees Clark, Ph.D.
LETI Director; Independent business consultant
Diana Morelli, Ph.D.
LETI Director; Skagit Economic Development Assn.
Jose García-Pabon, Ph.D.
LETI Director; WSU Extension
Mel Cossette
LETI Director; Materials Science Program Director, Edmonds Community College
For participating institutions
Winnie Corral
Diana Bustos
Gustavo Ramos
Al O'Brien
WA legislature, retired
Jean Hernandez
President Emerita, Edmonds Community College

Why You Should Participate

  • All expenses related to the project are covered (no cost to you)
  • Leadership training (30+ hours) and diploma (a certificate of LLI completion)
  • Meet prominent Latino dignitaries and professionals
  • Networking opportunities
  • Recommendations (upon completion) for Internships at LETI & various municipalities and businesses
  • Assistance in creating a personal portfolio
  • Letters of recommendation from Latino professionals
  • Eligibility for scholarship award (varies by trimester)


  • Currently enrolled at your local college
  • Self-identified as Latino
  • Attend four (4) Saturday events & two field trips (transportation provided free of charge)
  • Attend six (6) daytime meetings on campus
  • Work on a team project with local students (approx. 40 hours)
  • Non U.S. citizens are eligible

How to Apply

To be announced by September 30th each year for the following year.

Sponsor a Future Leader!

LETI needs community partners to act as sponsors (patrocinadores) for students participating in our college-level leadership program. Sponsors are asked to provide personal time by the sponsor or a senior employee (a) to help the student understand the leadership roles in a business or service organizaiton; (b) to contribute $300 (or more) to the scholarship fund. If you can participate please contact us using the form above. DONATE