Community Cultural Wealth Goes to College: A Review of the Literature for Career Services Professionals and Researchers

WCER Working Paper No. 2021-6

Nidia Bañuelos

October 2021, 41 pp.

ABSTRACT: Created by LatCrit scholars in the mid-2000s, Community Cultural Wealth (CCW) is an anti-deficit framework for understanding educational inequality. Since its publication, Yosso’s (2005) seminal paper on the topic has been cited thousands of times by scholars in fields as distinct as engineering, K-12 education, and public health. This paper reviews the recent scholarship on college students’ experiences and outcomes that uses CCW as a guiding framework. Although the intended audience for this review is career services professionals in colleges and universities, my hope is it can also be helpful for scholars of career development who want to brush up on the CCW literature and consider future research questions the framework presents. The existing literature offers insights on the college-to-career transition. It reveals the centrality of familial capital in shaping students’ career pathways, the function of resistant capital in forming students’ career interests, the utility of students’ existing social capital in the job search process, and the role of counterspaces in activating CCW for career success. However, CCW scholarship typically focuses on college students’ matriculation, persistence, sources of support, and wellbeing, not on their career development—including the psychological, spiritual, sociocultural, political and economic factors influencing students’ career interests and the knowledge, relationships, and environmental contexts shaping their career choices (Duffy & Dik, 2009). This gap presents opportunities for researchers and career services professionals to partner in creating and evaluating programming with CCW in mind. There are also opportunities to increase the methodological diversity of CCW scholarship, to consider the ways in which students mix CCW with “dominant” forms of capital for career success, to collect data from employers, faculty, and other gatekeepers, and to account for the role of institutional context.

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keywords: Community cultural wealth, asset-based research, higher education, underrepresented college students, literature review, career development