HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill., -- Due to the economic uncertainty many Hispanic-Americans are placing a new emphasis on what is important to them and their families. A new survey* by Sears Holdings finds that although a majority (84 percent) of Hispanic-Americans report that education will be a priority in 2010, most (92 percent) believe that there are barriers standing in the way of receiving an education beyond high school, with close to three-quarters (71 percent) citing lack of money to cover school expenses as the biggest roadblock.
Among those respondents who believe there are barriers in receiving a higher education, more than half (53 percent) attribute a lack of information about the opportunities and options available to get an education as an obstacle. Also weighing in as a hurdle for many Hispanic-Americans (60 percent) is the need to work and support the family right after high school.
Yet, even with these bumps in the road, over two in three (67 percent) of Hispanic-Americans believe education in their community has become more important than it was 10 years ago. In fact, more than nine in 10 (93 percent) feel that the importance of education has increased because of the economic landscape.
In fall 2009, considering the needs of the Hispanic community it serves, Sears Holdings launched the PRIMERO Hispanic Heritage Scholarship(SM) program and bilingual, social networking education Web site in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month. The program was developed to reward those who were first in their family to attend college, as well as those continuing the family's tradition of attaining a higher education. In addition to providing details on the scholarship, the PRIMERO Hispanic Heritage Scholarship(SM) Web site offered information and facilitated conversation among students and their parents about the college planning process. The overwhelming response to the PRIMERO Hispanic Heritage Scholarship(SM) program incited further research into the needs of the Hispanic-American members of the Sears Holdings community.
"The recent research findings reaffirm our commitment to offering programs that add value to our culturally diverse communities and customer base," said Bruce Johnson, interim, chief executive officer, Sears Holdings. "We look forward to providing resources that support and ultimately improve the lives of the community we serve."
Sears Holdings recently selected student Ian Hitchcock as the PRIMERO Hispanic Heritage Scholarship(SM) grand prize winner. Other winners include: Julie Query, Daniel Villanueva, Noemi Bermudez and Haydil Henriqez.
"I'm very gracious and honored to be chosen as a PRIMERO Hispanic Heritage Scholarship(SM) winner," said Daniel Villanueva. "Winning the scholarship greatly lessened the stress of the college application process, allowing me to more strongly pursue my academic aspirations."
"We commend Sears Holdings for providing scholarship opportunities, especially during a time when Hispanics are looking to further their education but may face unique challenges," said Antonio Flores, president and CEO of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU). "The PRIMERO Hispanic Heritage Scholarship(SM) program demystifies the college preparation process, giving aspiring students the encouragement and confidence they need to pursue a higher education."
About Sears Holdings Corporation
Sears Holdings Corporation is the nation's fourth largest broadline retailer with approximately 3,900 full-line and specialty retail stores in the United States and Canada. Sears Holdings is the leading home appliance retailer as well as a leader in tools, lawn and garden, home electronics and automotive repair and maintenance. Key proprietary brands include Kenmore, Craftsman and DieHard, and a broad apparel offering, including such well-known labels as Lands' End, Jaclyn Smith and Joe Boxer, as well as the Apostrophe and Covington brands. It also has the Country Living collection which is offered by Sears and Kmart. We are the nation's largest provider of home services, with more than 12 million service calls made annually. Sears Holdings Corporation operates through its subsidiaries, including Sears, Roebuck and Co. and Kmart Corporation. For more information, visit Sears Holdings' website at www.searsholdings.com.
About Kelton Research
Kelton Research is a full service market research consultancy with offices in Los Angeles and New York. Kelton serves as a strategic partner to both Fortune 500 corporations and smaller companies, utilizing a wide range of qualitative and quantitative methodologies to drive tactical recommendations for clients. For more information about Kelton's services, please visit www.keltonresearch.com
Methodological Notes on the Sears/Kmart Hispanic Education Survey
The Sears/Kmart Hispanic Education Survey was conducted by Kelton Research, January 11-14, 2010 using an email invitation and an online survey. Quotas are set to ensure reliable and accurate representation. Results of any sample are subject to sampling variation. The magnitude of the variation is measurable and is affected by the number of interviews and the level of the percentages expressing the results.
For the survey of Hispanics, the chances are 95 in 100 that a survey result does not vary, plus or minus, by more than 4.9 percentage points from the result that would be obtained if interviews had been conducted with all persons in the universe represented by the sample.
*An online survey of 300 Hispanic Americans ages 18 and older, conducted by Kelton Research from Jan. 11 to Jan. 14, 2010.
SOURCE Sears Holdings Corporation