Forging pathways into the digital economy for Latinos

By Frankie Miranda, President and CEO, The Hispanic Federation & Hector Mujica, Economic Opportunity Lead,

Technological advancements are changing the workforce requirements of our economy. According to Brookings, nearly two-thirds of all new jobs created since 2010 required either high or medium level digital skills. Latinos make up 18% of the overall U.S. labor market and will account for one out of every two new workers entering the workforce by 2025, but also make up 35% of workers with no digital skills; 20% of those with limited skills; and only 8% of all STEM jobs. Latinos also hold jobs that are at the highest risk of elimination due to automation of any identity group, at close to 60% (followed by African Americans at 50%). Without digital skills, Latinos will be overrepresented in the groups that are excluded from access to the digital economy.

Latinx nonprofits are central for educating and training the workforce of tomorrow. Yet, as the digital economy advances, many nonprofits are slow to adopt technical skills as a priority for their beneficiaries. For Latino nonprofits engaged in workforce training to best serve the needs of the people they train, they must be responsive to shifting market demands to best prepare Latino workers for the digital economy.

That’s why in 2019, made a $2M grant to the Hispanic Federation to strengthen Latino institutions serving the Latino community with workforce development and digital skilling programs. Despite setbacks from the COVID-19 pandemic and sheltering in place mandates, over 10,000 individuals have participated in the program, receiving an average of 35 hours of digital skills training and yielding over 1,100 jobs for the participants. Participants like Clariza—a young Latina who immigrated from a small town in Mexico to the United States in the pursuit of opportunity—with support from the Hispanic Federation and through partners like the Knowledge House, are able to strengthen their skills and secure jobs requiring digital skills such as a data engineer. is proud to reinvest $1M in the Hispanic Federation, with the goal of reaching an additional 6,000 Latino jobseekers over the next year and to provide them with the skills to secure meaningful pathways to digital economy jobs, including by deploying Google Career Certificates in fields that are projected to grow over the next ten years.

Not only have we reached thousands, but we’ve also learned meaningful lessons about the ecosystem:

  • Demand is high for culturally competent digital skilling programs. Each non-profit program was either at the maximum capacity or near maximum capacity. Many of the participating programs offer wrap-around services relevant to the Latino community as well as digital skilling courses in both English and Spanish.
  • Latinas to the front. Implementing partners shared that women in their communities were taking advantage of digital upskilling opportunities and prefer the remote offerings. This is key, given that Latinas were more likely than other groups to drop out of the workforce during the pandemic. Over 60% of the 10,000 individuals participating in the program are women.
  • Hybrid and remote learning is here to stay. Programs are able to increase their capacity by no longer being restricted to a hyper-local community or those who have the time to physically travel to a learning site.This also increases access since many learners no longer have to travel long distances to participate in programs. This presents a challenge and an opportunity—we need to find and implement creative solutions to ensure everyone can connect to remote learning.
  • Data is helping organizations make better workforce decisions. Leveraging hyper local and in-depth job market data has allowed partner programs to go even further in developing curriculum that train for the digital skills currently in demand in the job market.

As we continue to rebuild in a post pandemic economy, we’re committed to ensuring everyone has equitable access to opportunity.