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Remarks by Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo at the White House Commission on Hispanics

Jan 26, 2024

Remarks by Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo at the White House Commission on Hispanics
Fri, 01/26/2024 – 16:40

Investing in communities and workers
Minority business growth


Friday, January 26, 2024

Office of Public Affairs


Gina M. Raimondo

Thank you for that introduction. Welcome, everyone, to the Commerce Department. And thank you all for your willingness to serve on this commission.

America’s growing and vibrant Hispanic communities are a driving force in our economy. I saw it firsthand during my time as Governor of Rhode Island, where the Hispanic population grew by nearly 40 percent in the last decade. More than 375,000 of our nation’s businesses are Hispanic-owned, and Hispanics and Latinos make up nearly one fifth of the labor force. At Commerce, we’re working to address the challenges that they often face, including lower wages, higher unemployment, lower educational attainment, and workplace discrimination. I’ll give some examples:

Last year, the Minority Business Development Agency launched the $125 million Capital Readiness Program to help underserved entrepreneurs launch and scale their businesses. They’ve also since announced grants to a handful of HSIs to support entrepreneurship programs for undergrads. Our Good Jobs Challenge is building industry-led, sustainable job training pipelines, including in places like Puerto Rico and Miami that have large Latino populations. Likewise, the Tech Hubs program is gearing up to make transformational investments in regions across the country. And HSIs have received more than $72 million through our Connecting Minority Communities program to help purchase broadband service and equipment. I also want to recognize the great work Deputy Secretary Graves is doing as the Administration’s Coordinator for Puerto Rico’s Economic Growth.

At the same time, thanks to President Biden’s leadership, we are making historic investments in both high-speed internet and domestic chip manufacturing that are going to benefit our economic and national security. Along the way, we’re going to create hundreds of thousands of jobs that have the potential offer family-sustaining benefits and lead to long-term careers.

But the reality is that we’re not going to be able to do this alone. It’s on all of us – the government, the private sector, nonprofits, and colleges and universities – to ensure that everyone has access to these opportunities, including the Hispanic community and women. This isn’t a political agenda – it’s math. Workers have to be ready for these jobs on day one. That’s why we’re counting on you to help guide our efforts.

I had a great discussion a few months ago with a group of HSI presidents about how they can be part of the workforce training pipeline for chips. But I also want you to think about how HSIs can prepare students for jobs in these industries. How can they partner with private companies to ensure they are graduating students into jobs in their local communities right away? If you have ideas, talk to my team, because we are all ears.

I hope you find today’s program helpful. I want to thank you again for sharing your time and expertise with this commission. This work is important, and we’re relying on your insight to make sure we get this right. Thank you.

Bureaus and Offices

Economic Development Administration
Minority Business Development Agency
National Telecommunications and Information Administration


Don Graves
Gina M. Raimondo


Secretary Gina Raimondo
National Security

Read the full report from the U.S. Department of Commerce: Read More