Nation’s Service-Employment-Redevelopment Network Says Latest Data Reflects Latinos Are America’s Economic Engine Now and for the Future

SER National today issued the following statement in observance of Cinco de Mayo, which commemorates the battle at Puebla in 1861. The historic confrontation was between highly trained and abundantly equipped elite French soldiers and a far smaller ragtag Mexican army formed from civilians-turned-defenders who had old, creaky muskets and hand tools as their only weapons. Yet, in what historians describe as one of the most courageous battles of a hugely outnumbered force, the Mexicans endured a brutal series of assaults over an entire day of heavy casualties. Yet, as evening fell, the flag of the eagle perched atop cactus, a serpent captured in its beak, fluttered high atop La Fortaleza de Guadalupe, the Fort of Guadalupe, while their foe lay far below defeated and in tatters. Mexico had been victorious in a battle that forever defined the resilience of its people to confront and overcome seemingly insurmountable odds and prevail. This is the lesson of Puebla.

“Cinco de Mayo affords America a wonderful opportunity to revisit the lessons taught through historical accounts about the strength of the human spirit to survive and achieve the impossible,” says Ignacio Salazar, SER National Chief Executive Officer. “Today, our nation is confronting unprecedented economic and trade challenges in modern times, and a new dynamic is emerging. The intersectionality of business, politics, and social frameworks demand more imaginative use of all our resources, and among these, Latinos play a critical role. Latinos represent nearly 20-percent of the nation’s population and the U.S. labor force. By 2060, that share will grow to almost one-third of the entire United States landscape in sheer numbers and workforce output. The trend is irreversible, and the outcome is inevitable. Latinos are the fastest growing and most resilient economic group now and into the future of our country.

Yet, that glowing forecast can only be realized through higher education and skills training opportunities in the United States. For the vast majority, college and university pathways remain elusive, as evidenced by the last data from the Postsecondary National Policy Institute (PNPI), which shows that ‘the Latino share of attained degrees decreased at every level, from associate degrees to doctoral degrees. Latinos earned 23.8% of associate degrees compared to 51.2% of white students’. We can and must do better if Latinos are to achieve the pinnacle of the American dream, whose gateway is education and high-wage, high-demand skills training opportunities.

Further, as with the battle of Puebla, Latinos’ most significant opportunity for victory today is in how we marshal our resources, in this case, continuing historic voter registration first seen in 2020. Indeed, increased participation in the civic processes of our country provides a bright ray of hope as America defines public policy, laws, and the allocation of funds for programs and initiatives vital to our training and development. May we continue to learn from history’s lessons, including the Battle of Puebla. Our enduring resilience is our ability to adapt, innovate and prepare our communities for whatever challenges the future may bring.”

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