Senate Adopts Padilla, Cornyn Bipartisan Resolution to Support Increasing Number of Latinos in STEM Careers

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senators Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) and John Cornyn (R-Texas) announced that the Senate adopted their bipartisan resolution to express support for increasing the number of Latino students and young professionals entering careers in STEM. The resolution has also been introduced in the House of Representatives by Representatives Tony Cárdenas (D-Calif.-29) and Maria Elvira Salazar (R-Fla.-27).

There are 60 million Latinos in the U.S., accounting for approximately 18 percent of the total U.S. population. Latinos also make up 17 percent of the overall workforce in the U.S., but represent less than 8 percent of the workforce in all STEM fields. A recent report published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts Latinos will grow from 17 percent of the workforce in 2017 to 22.4 percent in 2030 and to 30.3 percent in 2060. The amount of well-paying STEM jobs is expected to outpace non-STEM jobs in the coming years, and it is critical to ensure STEM fields are accessible and appealing for Latino students and young adults.

“As a Latino graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, with a degree in mechanical engineering, I understand the importance of making careers in STEM more accessible to communities of color,” said Senator Alex Padilla. “America benefits from a strong and diverse workforce. This resolution is a good step toward recognizing the work we must do to encourage and support more Latinos to pursue STEM careers.”

“STEM education has the power to change lives — it did for me and Alex,” said Representative Cárdenas. “We both grew up on ‘that side of town’ and experienced people telling us that we would not amount to anything. We overcame that constant drumbeat of ignorance, and became engineers, and later elected leaders in the San Fernando Valley. Now, we’re fighting to empower more Latinos from communities like ours to pursue STEM careers. When we encourage students to dream big, we help them become our future mathematicians, astronauts and more.”

“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,” said Representative Salazar. “Latinos, who are currently underrepresented in STEM fields, can and should help fill our country’s need for more highly skilled and technical workers. I am proud to join this bipartisan resolution recognizing the importance of Latinos in STEM.”

“SHPE is extremely grateful to Senator Padilla and Senator Cornyn for officially recognizing the important role that Hispanics in STEM do, and will, play in the future of our country. As the Resolution notes, Hispanic workers remain underrepresented in the STEM workforce, making up 18 percent of total employees across all occupations but only 8 percent of all STEM workers. Seeing federal support for stimulating Hispanic STEM education and facilitating STEM career pathways gives me great hope that SHPE’s mission of bridging this gap between Hispanics and STEM will continue to be fulfilled. SHPE looks forward to a long-standing and impactful collaboration with our nation’s leaders in Congress on achieving this important and pressing objective,” said Dr. Chris Wilkie, SHPE Chief Executive Officer.

“HACU is encouraged to see this bipartisan commitment to improve and support Latinos in STEM careers. The U.S. has an opportunity to build capacity and invest in critical STEM development that will strengthen our economy. Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) have the potential to significantly contribute to STEM teaching, learning and research, and are poised to prepare a new contingent of STEM professionals for the nation’s workforce. We look forward to continue working together to ensure HSIs have the resources needed to support these efforts to boost the number of Latino students who pursue STEM careers,” said President and CEO Antonio R Flores, Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities.

The resolution:

  • supports the goal of increasing Latino individuals 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;
  • supports increasing the representation of Latino individuals in STEM fields to enhance and improve representation and improve performance in the STEM workforce, which will help develop talented and capable STEM workers; reduce the dependence of the economy of the United States on foreign workers; and secure the future of the United States 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 in order to achieve this goal of increasing Latino individuals in STEM.

The full text of the resolution can be found here.

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