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Poised to Transform the Economy
Many of the fastest-growing jobs—those in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields—pay well and require education beyond a high school diploma."We know that the tech sector is fueling job growth. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates there will be approximately 1 million newly created STEM jobs in the next 10 years," Rep. Linda T. Sanchez, D-Calif., and CHCI chairwoman, noted in the report.
Depending on how STEM jobs are defined,
the size of the STEM workforce can range from 5 percent to 20 percent of all U.S. workers. Hispanics account for 6.5 percent of those jobs, according to the report.Jobs often go unfilled because of a lack of workers with the skills employers are seeking. The report looked at the educational barriers Hispanics can face in being prepared for college and the workforce.
Among Hispanics, only 18.6 percent have a bachelor's degree or higher, versus 27.3 percent of black, 37.7 of white and 60.1 percent of Asian people, according to the U.S. Census Bureau."Latinos lack the proper education and training to be viable, marketable candidates ... for the jobs of the future," said Domenika Lynch, CHCI president and CEO. She also serves as executive director of the Latino Alumni Association at the University of Southern California.A Pew Research Center report described
Hispanics as the youngest major racial or ethnic group in the U.S. About one-third, or 17.9 million, of the nation's Hispanic population is younger than 18, it noted. Additionally, Hispanic Millennials are much more likely to speak English proficiently and much less likely to be immigrants than older Hispanics, according to the Pew Research Center analysis."We have time to be trained and educated for the 21st century jobs," Lynch said.From 2010 to 2013, Hispanics increased their STEM credentials by obtaining certificates and associate, bachelor's and graduate degrees. For example, during that time,
the number of STEM certificates earned by Latinos increased 160 percent, from 3,655 to 9,502 certificates.Between 1998 and 2012, Hispanic college enrollment increased by 34 percent, and it's projected to grow 16 percent between 2012 and 2023. But while college enrollment has increased dramatically, according to the report, the attrition rate is high, in part because of a lack of affordability and an unawareness of financial aid such as scholarships.
"We have to make sure we get more of our folks graduating from high school and college," said Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, during the luncheon. "We need to make sure we get higher levels of education ... then we can increase our income. They're [both] tied in."
SHRM's Carr called the report "a roadmap" that includes case studies and employer best practices, such as:
CHCI's Lynch stressed that the report is a tool that can be used to affect change.
"We don't want this to be another white paper in Washington, D.C. We want it to be a guiding force, a strategy-builder, so we can have impact and start diversifying various industries," she said.
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