Dr. Norman Ruano's work for the Institute for Workforce Education, a division of St. Augustine College, is not just a job; it's fulfilling a lifelong passion. Dr. Ruano was born in Guatemala City, Guatemala, and lived there until his early teens when he and his family moved to Chicago during the civil war. Influenced by having college professors and activists in his family, Dr. Ruano developed a penchant for education and advocacy on others' behalf at an early age.
"When I was a kid, my grandmother used to organize protests to help the poor," Dr. Ruano said. "I saw firsthand her understanding of people's condition and dedication to do something about it. I always had a sense that we needed to do something to help others."
Along with activism, Dr. Ruano took his education seriously. He studied social sciences in college. He continued studying the subject, earning a Master Degree and later a Doctorate in Sociology, with Summa Cum Laude honors, from Loyola University Chicago.
Feeling the need to understand life in the private sector, he began his professional career in business sales and management, before joining the City Colleges of Chicago. Here, he managed the workforce operations of Harry S. Truman College and later founded the Workforce Institute, where he served as Vice President. Through his leadership, hundreds of businesses in Illinois and other states in the country received strategic consulting and training, as well as workforce training funding from government agencies. He focused on bringing education to the workplace and on the development of programs to support Latinos in higher education.
Because of his interest in higher education and commitment to promote the progress of Latinos, Dr. Ruano transitioned to St. Augustine College (a Latino college), where he's worked as Vice President for Workforce Development for almost a decade.
At St. Augustine college, Dr. Ruano's mission was to create a workplace development program from a private, non-profit college perspective, focusing on serving the Latino community of Chicago and the state of Illinois.
As a result, the Institute for Workforce Education (IWE) was created. This college division is dedicated to helping the Latino community advance in the workforce and classroom in many different ways.
For example, a lot of immigrant and U.S. born Latinos join the workforce right away with a particular skill set. Once technology changes, however, they need to get new training to stay...