Continental Airlines (NYSE: CAL) has been
listed for the fourth consecutive year in HISPANIC Magazine`s “Corporate 100
Providing the Most Opportunities for Latinos,” which appears in the
January/February 2001 issue.
“Continental has a diverse workforce that reflects the communities and
cultures we serve,” said Gordon Bethune, Continental`s chairman and CEO. “We
are committed to treating our employees with dignity and respect, and being
named to HISPANIC Magazine`s `Corporate 100` list is tangible proof that our
efforts are succeeding.”
Continental is one of twenty corporations featured in the article, which
highlights enhancements to the airline`s “Latinization” initiative to make
Spanish-speaking customers feel welcome onboard and in the airports. The
magazine cites the addition of fifty new Spanish-speaking flight attendants on
Continental Express flights to Mexico, as well as new menus featuring Latin
American recipes on Latin American flights.
“This year the competition was tight as more companies are valuing
diversity and supporting Hispanic causes by publishing Spanish-language
materials, targeting U.S. Hispanics, aggressively recruiting Latinos for upper
management positions and fostering Hispanic employee organizations,” the
article says. Companies are selected for the listing based on a survey of
recruitment efforts, minority business initiatives and funding efforts for
scholarships and organizations.
The magazine points out that since 1998, Continental has recruited more
than 3,100 Hispanics to its workforce. Out of Continental`s 53,064 current
employees, 15 percent are Hispanic; 21 percent of Continental`s newly hired
employees in 2000 were Hispanic.
“Hispanics are a rapidly growing segment of our workforce and will
continue to be so because of our heavy presence in Latin America, our
Latinization initiatives and our routes between U.S. Hispanic population
centers,” said Pat Bissonnet, Continental`s director of Diversity. “All of
our staffing groups are working to identify sources of employees in the
Continental`s “Vuela con Libros” bilingual reading program in Houston
second-grade classrooms was also cited in the article; the program received an
“Honorable Mention” in the Star Award for Business Leadership in Education
competition, sponsored in 2000 by The Association of Educational Publishers.
An airline industry innovator in providing specialized service to Spanish-
speaking and Latin American passengers, Continental began its “Latinization”
initiative in 1997. “Latinization” includes Spanish-speaking flight
attendants, regional cuisine and Spanish-language newspapers, magazines, TV
programs and music on board. Bilingual customer service representatives and
Spanish-language signage and flight information are available in the airports.
The airline provides its personnel with extensive customer service and
cultural-awareness training so they can more effectively meet the needs of
Latin American and U.S. Spanish-speaking travelers.
Continental also supports numerous Hispanic community initiatives,
including the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Latin Business Association,
Imagen Awards for positive portrayal of Latinos in the film and TV industry,
National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts, National Council of La Raza,
National Hispana Leadership Institute, and many other organizations and
festivals throughout the United States. HISPANIC is a national, English-
language magazine targeting U.S. Hispanics.
Continental Airlines is now the No. 2 U.S. airline to Latin America,
flying to 47 destinations in 20 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Continental is the fifth largest airline in the U.S., with more than 2,200
daily flights to 136 domestic and 92 international destinations. Operating
hubs in Newark, Houston, Cleveland and Guam, Continental (http://www.continental.com)
serves more international cities than any other U.S. carrier and offers
extensive service throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia. Continental has
received numerous awards for its service, programs, operations and management,
including being named Air Transport World`s 1996 and 2001 Airline of the Year.