September 27, 2023

EDA Celebrates National Hispanic Heritage Month

I’m proud to join EDA staff and stakeholders celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month. Investing in America means investing in Hispanic Americans!

 - Alejandra Y. Castillo, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development

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Education and capital are keys to unlocking the doors of prosperity. But, for many members of Hispanic American communities, access to these basic tools of economic empowerment have been limited by institutional inequities.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2021 Survey of Income and Program Participation, approximately one out of every three U.S. residents of Hispanic origin lived in a household that experienced material hardship in 2020, a number nearly 35 percent greater than that experienced by the non-Hispanic population. 

And yet, despite both social and economic barriers, Hispanic Americans are a critical part of the American economy.  Hispanic-owned employer firms account for more than 40 percent of all minority-owned employer businesses in the United States, contribute over $400 billion in U.S. economic output annually, and produce almost 3 million jobs per year.

Hispanic Americans are vital to the American economy and they have EDA’s support.

During this year’s National Hispanic Heritage Month, EDA is celebrating the dynamic contributions of Americans of Hispanic origin to the U.S. economy, while also recommitting itself to ensuring the promise of American prosperity is equitably realized through strategic investments in projects that bridge the workforce development and capital investment needs of Hispanic employees and entrepreneurs.

Recent EDA initiatives include:

  • Incubating Strong Economies. In May, EDA designated the first regional Economic Development District (EDD) in Puerto Rico. The new Southern Puerto Rico Economic Development District will benefit from local-federal partnership to support entrepreneurs, mobilize new resources, and plan for economic growth in the municipalities of Guánica, Guayanilla, Juana Díaz, Peñuelas, Ponce, and Yauco.
  • Supporting Workforce Development. Over the last year, EDA has awarded grants to frontline organizations working to empower the nation’s Hispanic community such as UnidosUS, which is utilizing an $11.4 million American Rescue Plan Good Jobs Challenge award to implement multi-sector workforce training programs with a focus on the Hispanic community of Denver, Colorado.
  • Knowledge Sharing. Through a $5.5 million grant to the New Growth Innovation Network, EDA launched Equity Impact Investments, a program focusing on creation and delivery of training tools that disseminate knowledge of best practices in economic development for underrepresented populations, including the Hispanic community.
  • Prioritizing Equity. Across all its programs, EDA continues to prioritize equity in grant funding decisions. As EDA’s leading investment priority, equity ensures economic development planning and implementation projects directly benefit traditionally underserved populations, such as the nation’s Hispanic community.

Follow EDA on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn for updates on EDA observances and activities in celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month.