SKIP navigation

OLLAS Reports

The Omaha Site: Migrant Civil Society Under Construction
Series on Latino Immigrant Civic Engagement
Authors: Lourdes Gouveia, Jonathan Benjamin-Alvarado, Yuriko Doku, Alejandra Toledo, and Sergio Sosa
Date: May 2010
Complete Report: PDF (eng) PDF (span)

Omaha was one of nine cities in the United States chosen by the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars to explore immigrant civic and political participation. Lourdes Gouveia and the OLLAS team, along with Sergio Sosa of the Heartland Workers Center, produced this bilingual report based on interviews and a round table with broad-based participation by the immigrant and Latino community.

Omaha es una de las nueve ciudades en los Estados Unidos que fué escogida por el Centro Internacional Woodrow Wilson para Académicos con el fin de examinar la participación cívica y política de los migrantes.  Lourdes Gouveia con el equipo de OLLAS y Sergio Sosa del Centro Laboral, produjeron este informe bilingüe basado en entrevistas y una mesa redonda con una amplia participación de la comunidad migrante y Latina.

Project Animate: Promoting Student Civic Participation through Latino Voter Mobilization
OLLAS Report No. 6

Author: Jonathan Benjamin-Alvarado
Date: December 15, 2009
Complete Report: PDF

This project sought to expand voter outreach and mobilization of new registered and Latino voters through a series of activities in the greater Omaha metropolitan area. Following the successful development of a voter mobilization project undertaken in the 2006 election cycle, this project conducted door-to-door canvassing activities utilizing students to distribute nonpartisan voter information and engage in “get out the vote” activities with new Latino registered voters.

Nebraska’s Immigrant Population: Economic and Fiscal Impacts
OLLAS Report No. 5

Author: Christopher Decker with Jerry Deichert and Lourdes Gouveia
Date: October 12, 2008
Complete Report: PDF

Immigration issues have once again assumed center stage in policy circles at every level of government in the United States, as the number of new immigrants, many undocumented and many from Latin American nations, has risen markedly in recent years. This is certainly true in Nebraska. According to US Census figures for 2000, the total immigrant population in Nebraska was estimated to be 74,638. By 2006, this figure had risen to 99,500, a 33.3 percent increase. By comparison, the total native-born population in the state grew less than 2.0 percent over the same six-year period.

This study attempts to quantitatively measure the impact of the state’s immigrant population on the Nebraska economy, with some attention paid to Latin American immigrant groups.

Religion and Community: Mexican Americans in South Omaha (1900-1980)
OLLAS Report No. 4
Author: Maria Arbelaez
Date: April 2007
Complete Report: PDF

Mexicans, like all other ethnic groups that created the United States as a nation of immigrants, were adamant in establishing churches of their own. Ethnic religious affiliations were essentially of Judeo-Christian origin and benefited effectively from the tolerance of worship mandated by the Constitution. Freedom of belief was known, demanded, and exercised by all immigrants. For Mexican and other ethnic communities, religious belief and centers of worship were the very heart of their community and identity bonds, their source of strength and reason to persevere in a new society where multiple nationalities, cultures, languages, and ethnicities converged.

This report provides a historical account of three Christian churches in South Omaha: the Virgin of Guadalupe Catholic Church, Gethsemane Lutheran Church, and the First Assembly of God Church. Chronologically, the congregations were organized between 1918 and 1948. These churches first were small community gatherings in family sitting rooms and rented shops. All of them were and still are located in South Omaha, and all were established by the Mexican community. Today these churches serve all those who reside in the area or attend ceremonies and rituals: old and new Latinos, the most recent generations of immigrants (Czech, Hungarian, Italian, Poles, Russian, Lithuanians, et al.), and recent refugee communities from Africa.

Latino Political Participation in Nebraska: The Challenge of Enhancing Voter Mobilization and Representation
OLLAS Report No. 3
Author: Jonathan Benjamin-Alvarado
Date: October 2006
Complete Report: PDF

This OLLAS policy brief seeks to enhance basic information regarding the role Latinos will play in shaping the future of politics in Nebraska in the short and medium term. Because issues such as immigration policy, fair housing, labor practices, and public education have risen to the top of the political agenda nationally and statewide, and because these issues most directly impact the lives of Nebraska’s growing Latino constituencies legitimately, we must consider to what extent Latino stakeholders can shape the debate and articulate acceptable policy responses to these matters.

How effectively these issues are dealt with will have major implications for all Nebraskans. This report sets out the basic parameters for an initial analysis of Latinos' political participation in Nebraska. In order to arrive at a more conclusive statement, we must continue to gather data and engage in multiple discussions. Nevertheless, we hope this report will begin to inform a broader conversation on Latino and immigrant political participation across Nebraska.

Examining the Impact of Parental Involvement in a Dual Language Program: Implications for Children and Schools
OLLAS Report No. 2

Authors: J. F.Casas, C. S. Ryan, L. Kelly-Vance, B. O. Ryalls, A. Ferguson, and C. L. Nero
Date: August 2005
Complete Report: PDF

This study focuses on a dual language (Spanish-English) program in the Omaha Public Schools. Dual language programs are programs in which children develop proficiency in two languages simultaneously. These programs are currently seen as the gold standard second language education because of the large amount of empirical support they have received with respect to children’s academic gains. All of the dual language classrooms are comprised of half native English speakers and half Spanish speakers.

Parental involvement has received much empirical attention with respect to traditional school programs; however, little is known about the role of parental involvement in dual language programs (Lindholm-Leary, 2001). Systematically studying dual language programs is an especially important area of investigation because of the latest census trends and because barriers to parental involvement for language minority children are likely to differ from those of language majority children.

For a list of additional publications produced from this project, please visit the Faculty Publications page on the OLLAS website.

Educational Achievement and the Successful Integration of Latinos in Nebraska: A Statistical Profile to Inform Policies and Programs
OLLAS Report No. 1

Authors: Lourdes Gouveia and Mary Ann Powell
Date: March 2005
Executive Report: PDF
Complete Report: PDF

Resumen Ejecutivo en Español: PDF
(Translation provided by El Perico weekly bilingual newspaper)

The unprecedented and continuous growth of the Latino population in Nebraka compels us to engage in institutional changes, comprehensive policy reforms, and innovative programs that enhance the productive integration of this population into our state. As an abundant body of research and informed practices make clear, education is the bedrock of successful integration for current and future generations of Latinos. No longer can a job, obtained without a high school or college education, provide the opportunities it may have once provided to older generations of Americans or, for that matter, first-generation immigrants. The latter tend to measure their socioeconomic success relative to conditions of unemployment and below-poverty wages they may have left behind. Their children’s socioeconomic mobility will hinge on educational attainment in this country.

This report was prepared by OLLAS at the request of the State of Nebraska Mexican American Commission (MAC). It is, in part, an update of earlier reports prepared for the commission by the Bureau of Business Research at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln. Its main contribution is as a resource for program managers and policymakers in formulating policies and innovative programs to address the recalcitrant educational gap affecting the Latino population. The report combines of census and educational data and our analysis is grounded in current sociological and educational research.

The Development of Mexican Nonproliferation Export Controls
CITS Special Report

Author: Jonathan Benjamin-Alvarado
Date: December 2004
Complete Report: PDF

This report by OLLAS assistant director Jonathan Benjamin-Alvarado is part of a developing research and outreach project with the Center for International Trade and Security at the University of Georgia. It involved working with Mexican government officials to design and implement national responses to international agreements and obligations to ensure command and control of critical nuclear, biological, and chemical materials in Mexico. Dr. Benjamin-Alvarado conducted a comprehensive survey, which he administered in Argentina and Cuba previously, later in 2005 to assess Mexican export controls.

The Integration of the Hispanic/Latino Immigrant Workforce
State of Nebraska Mexican American Commission Project Report

Authors: Miguel A. Carranza and Lourdes Gouveia
Date: May 2002
Complete Report:

The main purpose of the study was to explore the degree to which Latino newcomers are being effectively and positively integrated into the economic, social, and political lives and institutions of the state and local communities. The project consisted of three phases. The first was based on analysis of Census 2000 figures, government documents, media archives, and published research. The second phase developed a survey questionnaire mailed to a wide array of agencies and organizations directly or indirectly charged with integrating newcomer populations. In the third phase we conducted focus groups with newcomers and key organizations in three Nebraska communities. This project represents an important step by Nebraska to address the serious dearth of research on the state’s Latino population.

In January 2000, Legislative Bill 1363 was introduced to the Nebraska legislature by a group of seventeen state senators. The purpose of LB 1363 was to create the Task Force on the Productive Integration of the Immigrant Workforce Population. As part of its initiative, the Task Force held a series of public hearings that gave individual citizens across the state an opportunity to express their views and ideas about the opportunities and challenges "oldtimers" and new arrivals to Nebraska face as a result of an increasing immigrant workforce population in their respective communities. The second component of the initiative was to sponsor a research study on this same topic. The authors were selected by the State of Nebraska's Mexican American Commission, the result of which is the above report.

A Guide to the GED in the Omaha Area
Brochures: English PDF, Spanish PDF

For information regarding GED preparation and testing, please review our brochure in pdf form, in either English or Spanish.
ALSO: Study Guide Zone has a free GED Study Guide and practice questions.