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Secretary Raimondo and Deputy Secretary Graves Address Commerce Initiatives that Promote Inclusive and Equitable Economic Growth for Latino Communities

In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and Deputy Secretary Don Graves hosted Latino elected officials, leaders, and stakeholder organizations to solicit their input on Commerce initiatives that will assist in promoting inclusive economic growth for Latino communities.

Both events took place at the Commerce Department where both Raimondo and Graves addressed the importance of the Hispanic community to our Nation’s economy. 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.

“America’s growing and vibrant Hispanic communities are a driving force in our economy,” said Secretary Raimondo. “Thanks to President Biden’s leadership, we’re making historic investments that are going unlock new pathways to exciting career opportunities, from bringing high-speed Internet to every corner of the country, to investing in critical technologies of the future.”

Deputy Secretary Graves also hosted an event with leading Latino stakeholder organizations and announced the planning of a Commerce Department equity convening in November. During the roundtable discussion, Graves received feedback on ways to further explore opportunities for collaboration in key areas including expanding manufacturing and minority business development and promoting inclusive and equitable economic growth.

Graves also serves as President Biden’s Puerto Rico Economic Growth Coordinator that helps to advance economic prosperity, strengthen climate resiliency, and deliver results for communities across the archipelago.

“I know firsthand that the America’s road to economic prosperity runs through our minority communities,” said Graves. “Latino engagement is critical in creating the conditions for inclusive economic growth and opportunity for Latino communities.”

In addition to this week’s events, Secretary Raimondo recently met with presidents of Hispanic-Serving Institutions where she addressed the importance of equity, access to education, and a trained workforce.

“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,” said Raimondo.

Last year, the Department released the first-ever Equity Action Plan that addresses the importance of building an economy that empowers all people especially in underserved communities. And earlier this year, the Department hired its first-ever Counselor for Equity.

The Equity Action Plan outlines how Commerce will use its programs and tools to:

  • Close the digital divide.
  • Ensure community development dollars advance racial equity and support underserved communities.
  • Grow Minority Business Enterprises (MBE).
  • Strengthen small businesses in underserved communities by helping them be successful exporters.
  • Increase access to the patent and trademark systems for inventors and entrepreneurs from historically underserved communities.
  • Make Department of Commerce science and data more findable, accessible, and usable.

Commerce recognizes equity as a strategic priority. More information can be found in the U.S. Department of Commerce’s 2022–2026 Strategic Plan.