September 19, 2016
By Jack Craver
America’s burgeoning Latino population offers a major opportunity for employers to address skill gaps in their workforce, proclaims a new report authored jointly by the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute and the Society for Human Resource Management.
The opportunity comes from the enormous population growth. Hispanics account for 19 percent of millennials, and will likely account for an even larger share of the next generation of Americans to enter the workforce. Indeed, roughly a third of the overall U.S. Latino population is under the age of 18.
In addition, the fact that many Latinos are bilingual also presents a key opportunity for companies seeking to connect with Spanish-speaking customers.
The challenge, however, is Hispanics are less likely to have the education necessary to do many of the jobs that employers are desperate to fill. The percentage of Latinos with college educations — 18.6 percent — is significantly lower than among African Americans (27.3 percent) or whites (37.7 percent).
"Latinos lack the proper education and training to be viable, marketable candidates ... for the jobs of the future," said Domenika Lynch, CHCI president, in the report.
"We have to make sure we get more of our folks graduating from high school and college," said Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, added. "We need to make sure we get higher levels of education ... then we can increase our income. They're [both] tied in."
The good news is that there is strong evidence that the education gap is closing. College enrollment among Hispanics rose by 34 percent between 1998 and 2012, and from 2010 to 2013, the number of Latinos acquiring science, technology, engineering and math certifications increased 160 percent.
While the Latino population is poised to continue growing for the foreseeable future, it may not increase as rapidly as it was projected to grow a few years ago. More U.S. residents are moving to Mexico than vice-versa, and Mexico has lost its place to China and India as the top source of immigration to the United States.
Source: Benefits Pro