In fact, the economic vitality of the Latino community is increasingly grounded in start-up business ventures, professional services and construction.
"I definitely think people come here to work, particularly the immigrant population," said Daniel Betancourt, president and CEO of Community First Fund, a nonprofit bank that works primarily with minority communities in central Pennsylvania. "There is no expectation that they are coming here for anything other than to find work. In many cases, they find they are better off starting their own business."
One-third of the bank's clientele is Latino, he said.
Betancourt, a Lancaster Latino of Puerto Rican heritage, said the dramatic growth in Latino-owned businesses — from restaurants, small groceries, to retail, services and construction — along the Route 222 corridor from Lancaster to Reading and the Lehigh Valley creates a multiplier effect.
"I think a lot of times people may not give Hispanics the credit for the economic opportunity they provide," he said. "They are spending money in their community and providing jobs in their community, and it's only benefiting central Pennsylvania."
Landisville resident James A. Colino, a second-generation Latino and Millersville University alum who is head of social media for The Hershey Co., said Latinos continue to negotiate widely held preconceived notions that often portray them as uneducated, unskilled laborers — and not a professional and upwardly-mobile sector.
"We're not seamless yet," said Colino, whose father is Argentinean and whose mother is second-generation Mexican-American. "I think there's still a negative connotation, and I think that's just going to come with time."
As part of his duties as social media strategist for Hershey, Colino leads the company's Global Talent Acquisition Center of Excellence, which builds cutting-edge recruitment strategies to attract and acquire top-notch talent to Hershey.
"I know there's a very vibrant and educated Latino community out there," said Colino.
Lancaster City Mayor Rick Gray said the Latino community has unwittingly contributed to the discourse on tolerance.
"I once had a guy say, 'Why do these people come here and dress their own way and speak their own language and don't mix in with the rest of us?'" Gray said. "I said, 'Hey, take it easy on the Pennsylvania Dutch. They've been here a long time.'"
Wolfe said that unlike the cloistered Amish, Latinos are actively engaged in the community and can at times buck up against biases and prejudices.