Empowering the Latino Workforce: Insights from the 2023 UnidosUS Annual Conference | Markle
Empowering the Latino Workforce: Insights from the 2023 UnidosUS Annual Conference | Markle

Empowering the Latino Workforce: Insights from the 2023 UnidosUS Annual Conference

July 25, 2023 - Written By Markle | Blog Archive


Rework America Alliance member UnidosUS recently hosted its 2023 annual conference in Chicago. Over three days, the event brought together leaders, experts, and advocates to foster collaboration, innovation, and thought leadership with the goal of empowering the nation’s 62 million Latinos. Our Acting President Beth Cobert participated in a plenary session that focused on the transformative impact of the pandemic on the American workforce, particularly essential workers.

The session was moderated by Daisy Auger-Domingue, the Global Chief People Officer at Vice Media Group, other panelists included, Brent Parton, Acting Assistant Secretary of the Employment and Training Administration at the U.S. Department of Labor, Carolina Jannicelli, Head of Community Impact at JP Morgan Chase & Co, and Juan Salgado, Chancellor of City Colleges of Chicago, who explored the “Great Resignation,” labor shortages, and how this critical moment can drive enduring improvements through systems change.

Three key takeaways from the discussion

1. Collaboration is key to ensuring equity and systemic change for the Latino Workforce:

“There’s significant investments in engineering, advanced manufacturing, and construction. These are jobs we know, though today they have suffered from occupational segregation. We know Latinos are underrepresented in a lot of these jobs,” Brent said. He also noted that the department is working with industry and labor partners across the nation to understand where job growth will happen so they can prepare talent pipelines through pre-apprenticeship programs and wrap-around supportive services.

Beth shared, “To make a difference in communities you need the engagement and the leadership of organizations in those communities…” This is one of the reasons “we are so excited about our partnership with Unidos – because at the national level, they have a voice and insights to think about policy, and at the community level they have the amazing sets of affiliates that can make change happen now.”

2. Employers prioritizing skills, not just degrees is critical to providing equitable opportunities:

“We want the focus on skills, we want the focus on diverse talent to be the norm and not the exception,” Beth emphasized.

At JP Morgan Chase, they are “very focused on prioritizing skills not just degrees because the continuum of Latino opportunities cuts across all different storylines and situations in life, so we want to meet our community where they are,” said Carolina. “About 70% of our open positions today do not require a college degree.”

3. Community Colleges play a vital role in the future of work:

Juan explained that at City Colleges of Chicago, they’re offering “No cost, high-demand, high-wage opportunities for any Chicagoan completely for free, and that’s 90% black and brown.” He emphasized, “community colleges are the critical higher ed institutions for the future of work.” And mentioned that at City Colleges of Chicago, “we’re not going to close those opportunity gaps, we’re going to eliminate it completely altogether.”


Click here to watch full panel, “Navigating the Future of Work: Pioneering Inclusion for the Latino Workforce.”

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