Federal Agencies Answer Call to Action by White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics

Archived Information

Federal Agencies Answer Call to Action by White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics

September 22, 2015

The White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics announced today a series of commitments, a new report and a set of education data plans outlining the Obama Administration's work to improve the lives of the 55 million Hispanics who live in the United States—whether through increased access to high-quality early learning and STEM education, more grants to Hispanic-serving colleges, more opportunities to participate in the internships or greater apprenticeships with small businesses.

Ten federal agencies answered the Initiative's call to action by making significant commitments to continue investing in and supporting the educational attainment of the nation's students and families, including Hispanics. In addition, the Federal Agencies Investing in Hispanic Education Report and Education Agency Data Plans were announced as part of the Initiative's 25th anniversary during this year's Hispanic Heritage Month and spotlight efforts by multiple agencies to ensure Hispanics have every opportunity to achieve the American dream. The report highlights a sampling of the data plans' nearly 350 activities supporting education, from cradle-to-career.

"Today, nearly one in four students in our nation's public schools is a Hispanic youth," said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. "Making sure these young people have the opportunity to achieve their dreams isn't just the right thing to do—it's also a matter of our shared success as a country. In just the next few decades, Hispanics will represent nearly one in three American workers. It's clear; the future of our nation is closely connected to the future of our Hispanic communities."

The Commitments to Action include:

National Science Foundation

  • Increasing the Participation of Hispanic-Serving Institutions in National Science Foundation Grant Programs: The National Science Foundation (NSF) will publish guidance to encourage proposals from Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) to existing NSF grant programs to support science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education and research projects, with an emphasis on programs that address broadening participation in the STEM workforce. The NSF is targeting Hispanic-serving community colleges, as well as four-year institutions, to increase the number of STEM proposals and awards to HSIs and increase the participation of students at Hispanic-serving community colleges in STEM education and research. Programs that address capacity building, scholarships and fellowships, research and development, and infrastructure may be of particular interest. Additionally, the NSF will continue to recruit peer reviewers and program officers through the temporary/rotator program from all HSIs. To support this effort, NSF will create an email inbox to answer questions from faculty and administrators at Hispanic-Serving Institutions on volunteering to be a peer reviewer, grant submission processes, and policies, and grant program inquiries.

Office of Personnel Management

  • Hispanic Leadership Development Program: The National Hispanic Leadership Agenda is sponsoring a Hispanic Leadership Development Program with participation by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to improve workforce diversity throughout the federal government's Senior Executive Service. This 12-month program will provide leadership developmental opportunities and address the core competencies identified by OPM to prepare future Hispanic senior executive leadership within the federal government.

Peace Corps

  • Fielding a Volunteer Population that Reflects the Diversity of America: Peace Corps will hire a staff member focused exclusively on increasing university programs and partnerships at highly diverse institutions. Peace Corps also commits to tripling the number of undergraduate partners at Hispanic-serving institutions through the Peace Corps Prep program, while also substantively increasing the marketing of its graduate programs to Latino students. Peace Corps also commits to strategically marketing the World Wise Schools Program to Latino teachers and to predominantly Latino school districts. This increased exposure to Peace Corps service and cross-cultural exchanges at a young age will increase awareness of volunteerism at the grassroots level among Latinos and increase students' global competence, as they become more familiar with the cultures of the people that volunteers serve around the globe.

Small Business Administration

  • Small Biz4Youth Campaign: The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has partnered with Small Business Majority to launch a pledge campaign designed to encourage small businesses and companies to hire, mentor or provide apprenticeship opportunities. The SBA and Small Business Majority have established a pledge goal of 200 companies. This campaign will help the next generation of Hispanic entrepreneurs to experience hands on business education, and help them become the next generation of business leaders.

Social Security Administration

  • Developing and Inspiring Latino High School and College Students towards Educational Advancement: Social Security Administration's National Hispanic Affairs Advisory Council, a Hispanic volunteer organization, announced refreshed initiatives to support students in Hispanic communities, and students enrolled in Hispanic Serving Institutions. The following activities specifically target Hispanic non-government entities:
    • Middle & High School Students Mentoring Events: By coordinating mentoring opportunities for middle and high school Hispanic students, Advisory Council members will encourage them to complete high school, consider advanced educational opportunities, and take proactive steps to achieve career success. This initiative includes a "Latinas Empowering Latinas," a high school mentoring program, which involves professional Latina women interacting with middle and high school students, to inspire them to grow personally and educationally.
    • Hispanic College Night for High School Students: Through our collaboration and volunteer efforts with nonprofits, college recruiters, and educational groups, Advisory Council members will share personal and professional experiences related to college, career, and family life. Utilizing these interactive workshops and panel discussions, Council members will infuse students with a "can do" spirit, increasing the likelihood of success.
    • Partnership with Hispanic Non-Profits: Working with local Hispanic non-profit organizations, the Hispanic Advisory Council will join forces with established groups that have congruent missions and goals. In partnership, they will provide Spanish translation and interpreter services to the community, and volunteer at community and educational events.
    • Advocates for Latino Student Advancements in Michigan Education (ALSAME) Conference: The Hispanic Advisory Council will support student's educational aspirations, by ensuring that they attend the yearly ALSAME conference. Students and Council members will participate in college visits, and discuss the benefits of pursing educational excellence in degreed programs.

U.S. Department of Agriculture

  • $9.2 million to Support Agricultural Science Education at Hispanic-Serving Institutions: This fall, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) will announce $9.2 million in grants to support projects on agricultural science education at dozens of HSIs across the nation. These grants will enhance the ability of these colleges and universities to support underserved students and develop a skilled American workforce. NIFA will make the awards through the HSI Education Grants Program, which encourages innovative teaching or educational projects that will prepare students to enter the agricultural workforce. An education or teaching activity is formal classroom instruction, laboratory instruction, and practicum experience in the food and agricultural sciences and other related matters. Project activities include student recruitment and services, curriculum development, instructional materials and equipment, and innovative teaching methodologies.

U.S. Department of Education

  • Hispanic Trends Progress Report: The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) will release a comprehensive report on trends in the education of racial and ethnic groups, featuring indicators documenting the progress of students, including Hispanic students. NCES will also produce a short report on Hispanic students highlighting progress in key policy areas, including preschool to college attendance, student assessments, graduation rates from high school and college, and educational attainment of young Hispanic adults.
  • Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Outreach and Engagement: The Department's Office of STEM Policy in the Office Innovation and Improvement will serve the Hispanic community through targeted programming during Computer Science Education Week in December. The STEM Office will also host STEM Mentoring Cafés in partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy.
  • MSIX Regulations: The Department's Office of Migrant Education will announce final regulations for the Migrant Education Program, which will set specific requirements for states' use of the Migrant Student Information Exchange (MSIX). MSIX and the Consolidated Student Records contained in the system benefit all migratory children, regardless of race, ethnicity, or national origin.
  • Hispanic Serving Institution Community of Practice: The Department's Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education—Community Colleges, will create a community of practice amongst Hispanic-serving community colleges, where they will share promising practices and facilitate connections to federal agencies to ensure Hispanic student success in two-year institutions. Led by a group of leading HSI community colleges, they will facilitate webinars, participate in conference gatherings, and collaborate on what works on a variety of crucial academic and student supports issues amongst HSI community colleges nationwide.

U.S. Department of Energy

  • Increasing STEM and Energy Literacy through Bilingual Materials: Through a memorandum of understanding with the Organization of American States, the U.S. Department of Energy will make available Energy Literacy Resources in Spanish. The materials aim to educate middle school and high school students on energy efficiency principles. Additionally, the Department will disseminate Energy Literacy Framework and videos in Spanish. By distributing these resources in Spanish, diverse populations will have a better understanding of the nature and role of energy in the world and their daily lives, and young people will learn how to conserve energy and help mitigate climate change.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

  • Policy Statement on Supporting Young Dual Language Learners (DLLs): The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will develop a policy statement on supporting young dual language learners in early learning settings, particularly in Head Start, Early Head Start, child care, and home visiting. The statement will discuss our vision for how the early childhood system can best support young dual learners, the research base- including the benefits of bilingualism and native language use, and a set of recommendations for States and early childhood programs on enhancing their services to better meet the needs of young DLLs and their families.

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

  • Increase the percentage of women, including Hispanic women, in the VA workforce as interns and full-time employees in STEM (healthcare and information technology) and other related fields: Through the VA National Diversity Internship Program (NDIP), the VA will target outreach to women overall and in STEM fields in diverse institutions of postsecondary education, to join VA as interns and ultimately transition to full-time employment. The VA will also use the Student Outreach and Retention Program focusing on the provision of information to women, and other underrepresented groups, on federal employment, VA careers, VA internships and mentoring in an effort to establish a pipeline for students/graduates to careers in VA.
  • Increase outreach, mentoring, and visibility of women in the VA workforce: The VA will customize a career development and mapping program aimed at underrepresented groups, including Hispanic women, through the Administer MyCareer@VA Days program.
  • Promote Career Readiness in STEM assignments through volunteer efforts and provide volunteer opportunities that would promote job exploration and success: The VA will identify community groups or organizations, including Hispanic-serving organizations, for volunteer opportunities.
  • Increase the number of women veterans who apply for the National Cemetery Administration apprenticeship program, including women of color: The VA will conduct outreach to encourage women veterans, including Hispanic female veterans, who are homeless or have experienced homelessness to apply for Cemetery Representative Apprentice Program. The VA will train selected female apprentices to serve veterans, families and visitors at VA national cemeteries and assign female apprentices in pairs to cemeteries staffed by strong female role models who will serve as mentors.

"In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month and in response to the Initiative's 25th anniversary call to action, this is a great example of how the federal government is making key investments to better serve and support the nation's growing Hispanic community," said the Initiative's Executive Director Alejandra Ceja.

The Obama Administration is committed to investments to expand high-quality early learning programs; increase equity and opportunity for all students; support teachers and school leaders; and improve access, affordability and student outcomes in college. It is the Administration's priority to ensure that every single child in this country deserves the opportunity to receive a strong education.

This year's Hispanic Heritage Month marks the 25th anniversary of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics and in honor of this historic milestone, the Initiative throughout the month will highlight the tremendous progress Latinos are making in education, as well as the challenges that need our continued attention. The Initiative was established in 1990 to address the educational disparities faced by the Hispanic community. You can follow updates on Twitter via @HispanicEd.