On September 19, OUAZ President Dr. Dennis Tyner was one of eight presidents/chancellors of National Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) that were invited by the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) to participate in a roundtable discussion convened by U.S. Secretary of Commerce, The Honorable Gina Raimondo. The roundtable took place as part of National Hispanic-Serving Institutions week, September 10-16, 2023. President Joe Biden initiated the annual week-long recognition of HSIs during his first year in office as a precursor to National Hispanic Heritage month, which runs from mid-September to mid-October.
According to the 2023 White House proclamation on National HSIs, “Education beyond high school should be a ticket to the middle class — and across our Nation, more than 500 Hispanic-Serving Institutions have helped to make that promise real, opening the doors of opportunity a bit wider for generations of Hispanic college students. During National Hispanic-Serving Institutions Week, we celebrate their important work.” To assist HSIs in their efforts, the Biden Administration’s American Rescue Plan has invested $11 billion in Hispanic-Serving Institutions.
The focus of the September 19 roundtable was to address the importance of equity, access to education, and a trained workforce among the U.S. Hispanic population. “At the Commerce Department, we’ve issued a call to action to colleges, universities, high schools, community colleges, unions, and the private sector to help us build the workforce of the future, especially when it comes to chips,” said Raimondo, as reported by the Commerce Department. “Access to high-quality education is paramount in building a more equitable society not only for the Hispanic community but for women, people of color, and rural communities.”
Tyner came away from the roundtable with renewed interest in forming partnerships to address tomorrow’s technology needs and provide greater opportunities to the University’s current and future Hispanic students. “Secretary Raimondo spoke specifically about wanting HSIs to be part of the training of graduates who might seek work in semiconductor manufacturing,” reiterated Tyner. “Coincidentally, the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TMSC) is in the process of building a $12 billion computer chip factory in Peoria, AZ, approximately 25 miles northeast of the Surprise campus. The meeting with Secretary Raimondo was a catalyst to OUAZ exploring a potential relationship with TSMC in the future.”
The Department of Commerce reports that, according to the most recent census and economic data (April 2021), Hispanics make up 19% of the U.S. population and are the nation’s second largest racial or ethnic group. Hispanic-owned employer firms account for over 40% of all minority-owned employer firms in the U.S., contribute $423 billion in U.S. economic output, and produce 2.87 million jobs per year.