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Report Calls for New Pathways and Policies to Advance Latine Representation in Tech Industry

Hispanic Heritage Foundation

In the Latine Tech Ecosystem report, the Kapor Foundation, Hispanic Heritage Foundation, Somos VC, and Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute examine Latine representation across K-12 computer science education, post-secondary pathways, the tech workforce and VC funding.

WASHINGTON, D. C- Today the Kapor Foundation, a leading organization focused on addressing racial inequity in the technology sector, released a new report titled, The State of Tech Diversity: The Latine Tech Ecosystem, in partnership with the Hispanic Heritage Foundation, SomosVC, and Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI). This report, a first of its kind in providing a comprehensive data analysis from K-12 computer science (CS) education to venture capital funding, exposes systemic challenges faced by the Latine community across the tech pipeline and offers policy recommendations for systems change.

Key takeaways include:

  • While 78% of Latine students have access to foundational CS courses, reflecting increased advocacy efforts, only 21% of enrolled course participants are Latine. Moving beyond course access to also progress on student participation, course success, and pathway retention is key to CS education advocacy success. New strategies must be employed, which include diversifying the teacher workforce, investing in resources to deliver a bilingual curriculum and providing additional support to help Latine English Language Learners (ELLs) in computing education, as only 6% of ELLs participate in foundational CS courses.

  • Even as Latine students are underrepresented within tech bootcamps (8%), the report finds apprenticeships show the most progress: in the past five years, Latine talent in tech apprenticeship roles has surged by 133%. To maintain U.S. economic viability amid Artificial Intelligence growth and bridge widening digital skills gaps in the workforce, it’s critical for the tech sector to tap into alternative accelerated talent strategies, whether partnering directly with Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) or building more industry informed internships and relevant apprenticeship programs prioritizing the Latine community.

  • Latine technical talent will not achieve parity in the sector until 2077 unless significant action is taken to create public-private accountability mechanisms and improve the pace of change across all seniority levels. Despite the 2020 surge in diversity, equity, and inclusion promises, many companies are now no longer prioritizing these efforts and, in some cases, disproportionately laying off Latine workers and lowering wages. Latine talent only comprises 6% of technical roles across the largest U.S.-based tech companies and for every dollar of salary made by white men, Latine men make 3% less, and Latine women earn 8% less. There is a persistent gap of Latine talent in senior levels of leadership, comprising only 3% of tech company board members and 5% of executive leadership roles, that must be addressed to see policy changes. While recruitment strategies are crucial for bringing Latine talent into the tech industry, it’s equally important to effectively employ strategies to retain and advance Latine talent in their roles, given the need for more culturally informed, responsible tech products and economies.

  • Despite record-high venture capital funding levels in the past five years, Latine investors and entrepreneurs continue to face disproportionately low funding, which is further declining.
    Latine investors comprise 6% of total VC investment professionals and 5% of partner-level VC investment professionals at institutional VC firms. In 2023, Latine entrepreneurs were significantly impacted, with merely 1.3% of capital deployed to them in the US investment market through 101 investments. These numbers are expected to be lowered as more primary granular data is collected and analyzed from Latine investors. To prevent further disruption, we must advocate for public-sector investments in innovation hubs and accelerator programs and increase capital deployed coupled with advancement opportunities to retain Latine professionals.

“Immediate measures are needed to dismantle the systemic barriers and disparities confronting the Latine community within the tech sector,” emphasized Lili Gangas, Chief Technology Community Officer of the Kapor Center. “Persisting exclusion of Latine voices and talent across the ecosystem from K-12 education, workforce, and venture creation is unsustainable. The moment calls for substantial transformations and investments; we need to prioritize solutions through public-private collective efforts for one of the fastest growing population segments of our nation. It’s an economic, social, and cultural imperative.”

“The findings of our State of Tech Diversity: The Latine Tech Ecosystem, while not surprising, are a stark reminder of the critical need to create a more equitable educational system, workforce development, and structure promoting entrepreneurship through tech for Latinos,” said Antonio Tijerino, President and CEO of the Hispanic Heritage Foundation. “America and the world are counting on the burgeoning Latino community to fuel innovation, solve problems and accelerate economic growth for America. We need to collectively share resources, galvanize stakeholders, including policymakers, and collaborate with partners like Kapor Center and CHCI who share our vision for a more equitable and diverse tech landscape that reflects our society as a whole.”

“The tech ecosystem plays an ever-increasing role in all aspects of our lives. And Latinos, who are nearly 1 in 5 people in the nation and will account for nearly 80% of labor force growth in the next decade, are a critical part of the American economy,” said Marco A. Davis, President and CEO of CHCI. We must create better policies and commit much more to engaging the Hispanic community in tech education, workforce and leadership development, and business investment. To fail to do so is reckless, and risks our future as a prosperous and competitive society.”

“From inventors, technologists, and founders to venture capital investors, the U.S. Latine population’s significant demographic and economic influence sharply contrasts with the current state of the tech landscape, prompting a need for reflection and inquiry,” said Mariela Salas, Executive Director of SomosVC. “We are encouraged that the issues have finally come to light and that organizations like Kapor Foundation, Hispanic Heritage Foundation, Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, and SomosVC are driving a national ecosystem discourse focusing on support and solutions for the Latine cohort.”

The full report is available here.

About The Kapor Foundation
The Kapor Foundation works at the intersection of racial justice and technology by removing barriers in order to make the technology ecosystem more diverse, inclusive, and impactful for communities of color. The Kapor Foundation is a recognized leader in the movement to transform the technology ecosystem by expanding access to computer science education, conducting research on disparities in the technology pipeline, supporting nonprofit organizations and initiatives, and investing in gap-closing startups and entrepreneurs. For more information on the Kapor Foundation and the Kapor family of organizations, SMASH and Kapor Capital, visit www.kaporcenter.org.

About The Hispanic Heritage Foundation
HHF is a national, nonprofit organization focused on education, workforce, social impact and culture through the lens of leadership. For more information, visit www.hispanicheritage.org and follow HHF on FacebookInstagramX, and TikTok.

About Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute 
The Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI) is the premiere nonprofit and nonpartisan 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to developing the next generation of Latino leaders. CHCI brings together an unmatched network of community leaders—along with our top-tier, transformative programming— to build a pipeline of Latino talent ready to shake up local communities, the halls of Congress, and corporate boardrooms. CHCI also convenes young professionals, Members of Congress and other public officials, corporate executives, nonprofit advocates, and thought leaders to discuss issues facing the Latino community and the nation.

About SomosVC

Investors, developing a community that leaves a lasting impact on the ecosystem. Our mission is simple: to accelerate and elevate the presence of Latinos/as in venture capital. When venture investors are empowered to show up as their authentic selves, the flow of capital from limited partners to venture capitalists and ultimately to startup founders becomes more diversified, impactful, and representative of U.S. demographics. For additional information, visit https://www.somos.vc/.

Contact: Kapor@berlinrosen.com

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