Salazar Empowers Latinos to Enter STEM Workforce

Salazar Empowers Latinos to Enter STEM Workforce

“Investing in education and workforce development is critical and having more Latinos pursuing STEM degrees.

Daniel Molina
Daniel Molina
|
October 11, 2023

A bipartisan effort is looking to recognize latinos in the STEM workforce. Florida Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar (R) and Texas Rep. Tony Cardenas (D) have introduced a resolution that would support increasing the number of Latino students and young professionals entering careers in STEM.

Given that there are over 62 million Latinos in the U.S. and that this accounts for an estimated 18 percent of the total U.S. population, the lawmakers want to empower Latinos to pursue more STEM related careers. Currently, Latinos represent less than 8 percent of the STEM workforce.

However, these statistics look to change by 2030 and beyond as a recent report published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics posits that Latinos will grow to 22.4 percent of the overall workforce in 2030. By 2060, it would be an estimated 30.3 percent.

In a statement, Salazar commented that “investing in education and workforce development is critical and having more Latinos pursuing STEM degrees will help grow our economy when it is desperately needed.”

“Latinos, who are currently underrepresented in STEM fields, can and should help fill our country’s need for more highly skilled and technical workers,” she added, mentioning that the legislation recognizes the important role that Latinos can have in STEM.

Cardenas echoed in her remarks, sharing that the STEM education he received changed his life.

“I had teachers tell me that I wouldn’t be able to cut it at University of California Santa Barbara and that I should train to be a mechanic rather than aiming for a degree in engineering.”

In overcoming the “negativity and ignorance,” he highlighted other “San Fernando Valley trailblazers like Senator Alex Padilla and Assemblywoman Luz Rivas use their STEM educations and knowledge to lead.”

The resolution supports the following:

  • supports the goal of increasing Latino men and women in science, engineering, technology, and mathematics as a way to promote economic empowerment and sustainability, not only in their community, but in the overall American economy;
  • acknowledges that, while Latino men and women have been a foundation for the American economy, they are underrepresented in STEM fields to the detriment of these industries and the broader American economy;
  • acknowledges that a strong commitment towards diversity and inclusion will require greater investment in our Latino community. This emphasis will help develop talented and capable STEM workers, reduce our nation’s dependence on foreign workers, and secure our nation’s future as a leader in STEM;
  • encourages increased federal support for initiatives aimed at boosting the number of Latino students who pursue STEM education and career paths, particularly engineering; and
  • recognizes the important role that Hispanic-Serving Institutions and all colleges and universities must play to achieve this goal.

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Daniel Molina

Daniel Molina

Daniel Molina is an award-winning senior reporter based in Miami. He holds a bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Florida International University. His hobbies include reading, writing, and watching films.

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