For Immediate Release

Office of Press Relations

Statement by Administrator Samantha Power

September 15 marks the launch of the movements for independence from Spanish rule across Latin America. To celebrate, communities across the region participate in traditional festivities, like the Running of the Torch across Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica. In Mexico, the President re-enacts the cry for independence from the balcony of the National Palace in Mexico City, ringing the same bell used in 1810.

We mark Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15 in honor of this liberation from colonial rule, which began a process of liberation that continued with the fight for freedom of enslaved and displaced indigenous people. During this month, we celebrate the diverse cultures, rich histories, and social, cultural, and economic achievements of community members of Caribbean, Central American, Mexican, South American or Spanish descent. This year’s Hispanic Heritage Month theme, Todos Somos, Somos Uno: We Are All, We Are One, highlights the wide range of cultures, ethnicities, and perspectives in the Hispanic community and the power of the community’s diversity.

In addition to honoring Hispanic heritage, this is an opportunity to recommit to building a more inclusive workplace at USAID. It is critical that the extraordinary diversity we celebrate also continues to enrich our work and engagement around the world. Hispanic/Latino federal employees are underrepresented at USAID, constituting only 6.6 percent of USAID’s permanent workforce – half the rate of Hispanic and Latino representation in the broader U.S. civilian labor force. At USAID, we believe our work is more effective when our workforce reflects the U.S. population we represent. 

To close this gap in representation, over the past year the Agency conducted a national recruitment campaign to increase diversity within our applicant pools through career fairs, conferences, information sessions, and webinars. We have expanded outreach to Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSI) by establishing a memorandum of understanding with Florida International University, the largest HSI in the United States. Additionally, we have increased engagement with professional organizations, including the Hispanic Latino Professionals Association (HLPA), Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU), and Prospanica

In addition to recruiting, USAID just hired our first Hispanic Recruitment Program Manager. This expertise will help close the representation gap by advising on how we can better attract and retain Hispanic employees. And we are looking forward to inspiring more Hispanic and Latino colleagues to join our mission when we participate in the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities’ 37th Annual Conference (October 28-30) where we will have the opportunity to interact with thousands of youth and faculty from this community through workshops, networking events, a career fair, and VIP receptions.  

To better support Hispanic/Latino applicants and employees throughout their professional journey with USAID, the Office of Civil Rights is conducting Agency-wide barrier analysis to help us identify and address the challenges Hispanic/Latino applicants and employees may face in USAID policies, programs, and processes. 

Please join me in celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month and honoring the rich diversity of cultures, traditions, and history of the Hispanic community together.

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