Excelencia in Education Provides Roadmap for Higher Education Institutions and Employers to Advance Latino Talent and Meet U.S. Workforce Needs

February 28, 2024

Contact: Media@EdExcelencia.org

New Analysis Identifies Top 25 Colleges and Universities Conferring Credentials to Latinos and Preparing Them for Today’s Global Economy

WASHINGTON, D.C. (February 28, 2024) – A new brief from Excelencia in Education calls on employers to meet U.S. workforce needs through strategic partnerships with colleges and universities that demonstrably increase the number of Latino college graduates and more intentionally prepare Latino talent for today’s global economy.

The brief, “Finding Your Workforce: Latino Talent for a Global Economy,” shows Latinos have the highest labor force participation, with 66% of those 16 years and older in the labor force, and demonstrates they will account for 91% of new workers — the largest number of any group — and one in five workers overall by 2031. However, Latinos are the most likely to be employed in manual labor occupations and earn the lowest salary compared to other groups. Only 33% of Latinos in the labor force in 2021 had earned an associate degree or higher, compared to 69% of Asians, 55% of Whites, and 45% of African Americans.

Against this backdrop, “Finding Your Workforce” identifies the top 25 institutions where Latinos earned credentials across academic levels in 2019-20. This analysis identifies the colleges and universities producing nationally significant numbers of Latino graduates overall, as well as in key disciplines relevant to today’s job market. This specific information provides opportunities for employers to engage college-educated Latino talent and learn from practices effectively linking these graduates to the workforce. They include 104 unique institutions across 14 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. This group represents 3% of the nation’s colleges and universities but graduated almost 25% of Latinos in 2019-20.

“The future is built on the talent in our workforce. Ignorance is no excuse for inaction. This report provides clear information on where Latinos are earning degrees and the strategies institutions implement to intentionally serve their students to prepare for civic leadership and the workforce,” said Deborah Santiago, Co-founder and CEO of Excelencia. “Our new analysis empowers institutions and employers to align their efforts to proactively engage and recruit Latino graduates where they are.”

For 20 years, Excelencia in Education has served its mission to accelerate Latino student success in higher education in order to address the country’s need for a highly educated workforce and civic leadership. This series represents the latest extension of Excelencia’s hallmark work of bringing national attention to higher education institutions and practices advancing Latino talent, strengthening our economy, and ensuring America’s future.

The majority (83%) of top institutions conferring credentials to Latino students at the certificate, associate, baccalaureate, and first professional levels are Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) across seven states and Puerto Rico. In addition, 21 have earned the Seal of Excelencia, a national certification for institutions that go beyond enrollment to intentionally SERVE Latino students.

The top institutions awarding credentials at each level are:

  • NUC University in Puerto Rico (Certificate)
  • Miami Dade College in Florida (Associate)
  • Florida International University in Florida (Baccalaureate and Master’s)
  • Nova Southeastern University in Florida (First Professional and Doctorate)

The brief goes on to highlight replicable strategies to increase Latino degree attainment and career success from the top institutions awarding postsecondary credentials to Latinos. It also calls on employers to establish common cause with institutions by aligning their goals to serve diverse communities with effective recruitment practices. Strategies for institutions and employers to link Latino graduates to the workforce include:

  1. Invest in high-wage, high-demand career pathways by developing stackable credentials in collaboration with employers and funding short-term career programs. 
  2. Provide transition services between completion and employment or graduate school, including financial and mental health support.
  3. Connect the Latino talent pipeline to employers by recruiting graduates for internal employment opportunities and leveraging partnerships with employers.

"Florida International University recognizes students and their families invest in a college education to prepare for a lifetime,” said Elizabeth Béjar, Provost, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Florida International University. “We are proud that Excelencia’s analysis underscores FIU's positive impact on Hispanic/Latino students as we serve as their launchpad into today’s global economy and their future success."

Excelencia brings the “Finding Your Workforce” series to the public with support from Bank of America, a national leader demonstrating its belief in the promise of Latino students to ensure America’s bright future.

“Bank of America has a long history of promoting pathways to economic mobility and connecting individuals and communities to income creation and wealth building opportunities. Our support of Excelencia in Education is another demonstration of that longstanding commitment,” said Meghan Hughes, Bank of America Head of Workforce Development, Arts & Heritage. “Through this partnership and their revelatory studies, we will continue to help strengthen the capabilities of minority-serving institutions and work alongside other employers to create scalable and equitable strategies that bring meaningful change to the lives of Hispanic-Latino families for years to come.”

This brief initiates a series that will provide lists of the top institutions graduating Latinos in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), health, and education, accompanied by examples of institutional efforts to improve Latinos’ college completion linked to these sectors.

Excelencia in Education will also host a national webinar on March 6 to discuss the analysis and the potential for higher education, business, and philanthropy to engage Latino talent. Please learn more and register: bit.ly/FindingYourWorkforceLatinoTalent


About Excelencia in Education
Excelencia in Education accelerates Latino student success in higher education by promoting Latino student achievement, conducting analysis to inform educational policies, and advancing institutional practices while collaborating with those committed and ready to meet the mission. Launched in 2004 in the nation’s capital, Excelencia has established a network of results-oriented educators and policymakers to address the U.S. economy’s needs for a highly educated workforce and engaged civic leaders. For more information, visit: EdExcelencia.org    

About Bank of America
Bank of America is one of the world’s leading financial institutions, serving individual consumers, small and middle-market businesses and large corporations with a full range of banking, investing, asset management and other financial and risk management products and services. The company provides unmatched convenience in the United States, serving approximately 69 million consumer and small business clients with approximately 3,800 retail financial centers, approximately 15,000 ATMs (automated teller machines) and award-winning digital banking with approximately 57 million verified digital users. Bank of America is a global leader in wealth management, corporate and investment banking and trading across a broad range of asset classes, serving corporations, governments, institutions and individuals around the world. Bank of America offers industry-leading support to approximately 4 million small business households through a suite of innovative, easy-to-use online products and services. The company serves clients through operations across the United States, its territories and more than 35 countries. Bank of America Corporation stock is listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: BAC).


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