April 23, 2024

HACU, UnidosUS hold Roundtable Discussion with U.S. Department of Commerce at GateWay Community College

SAN ANTONIO –The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities and UnidosUS, held a roundtable discussion with U.S. Department of Commerce at GateWay Community College, Central City Campus in Phoenix, Arizona on April 23, 2024. Deputy Secretary Don Graves met with Hispanic-Serving Institution presidents, state officials, leaders of community-based organizations and students to discuss creating access to careers in advanced manufacturing through partnership with the Department of Commerce.

GateWay Community College is part of the Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD), one of the largest community college systems in the country. With all 10 of the district’s colleges designated as Hispanic-Serving Institutions, the visit by Deputy Secretary Graves highlights the significance of HSIs in creating opportunities for students from diverse backgrounds. Joined by representatives from MCCCD and HSI leaders, the discussion emphasized the role HSIs play in expanding access to higher education and how graduates fill workforce gaps in key sectors, contributing to economic growth and innovation.

“The Biden Harris Administration and the Department of Commerce are committed to building a modern 21st century workforce that places equity at its center,” said U.S. Deputy Commerce Secretary Don Graves. “Through the CHIPS & Science Act we are equipping the next generation of American innovators with the skills, knowledge, and tools they need to be successful in an increasingly digital economy. We look forward to continuing our work alongside partners like HACU and UnidosUS to write the next chapter of economic prosperity for all communities across the country.”

The discussion addressed developing cross-sector partnerships among HSIs, community-based organizations, and industry/employers to provide learning and training opportunities to meet the need for advanced manufacturing workers. Grant opportunities for higher education institutions and community-based organizations available through the $280 billion CHIPS and Science Act launched by the Biden Administration a year ago, authorizes $174 billion for research, development, and workforce improvement in semi-conductor chip manufacturing, STEM and other fields through Fiscal Year 2027. Working together, HSIs, other Minority-Serving Institutions, and community-based organizations will contribute extensively to building the competitive, skilled, and diverse workforce necessary for our increasingly tech-driven economy.

“HSIs educate and graduate a growing diverse student body that will serve as the economic foundation of future economic growth and prosperity for the nation,” said HACU President and CEO Antonio R. Flores. “Maintaining our position as a technical leader in the world is dependent on a well-educated workforce, and grants and funding to HSIs from the Department of Commerce will be a significant part of how we ensure STEM student success in the classroom and beyond.”

“CHIPS for America is a historic investment not just in our nation’s technological future, but also in delivering on the promises of emerging technologies for students, workers, and families,” said UnidosUS Senior Vice President of Programs Mauricio Garcia. “Ensuring the success of these investments will require unlocking the full potential of America's diversity, including the Latino community, and closely collaborating across government, industry, education, and community organizations.”

Attending the roundtable were presidents, representatives and students from HACU-member HSIs and UnidoUS Workforce Development students and UnidosUS Affiliates:

  • Arizona State University
  • Chandler-Gilbert Community College
  • Estrella Mountain Community College
  • GateWay Community College
  • Maricopa County Community College District
  • Ottawa University-Surprise
  • South Mountain Community College
  • Aliento
  • All in Education
  • Chicanos Por La Causa
  • Friendly House

The Department of Commerce will direct $50 billion to programs strengthening and revitalizing the U.S. position in semiconductor research, development, and manufacturing through the CHIPS Research and Development Office and the CHIPS Program Office.

 About HACU

The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities, founded in 1986, represents more than 500 colleges and universities in the United States, Latin America, Spain and school districts throughout the U.S. HACU is the only national association representing existing and emerging Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs). The Association’s headquarters are in San Antonio, Texas, with regional offices in Washington, D.C. and Sacramento, California. For more information visit or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and X.

About UnidosUS
UnidosUS is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that serves as the nation’s largest Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization. Since 1968, we have challenged the social, economic, and political barriers that affect Latinos through our unique combination of expert research, advocacy, programs, and an Affiliate Network of nearly 300 community-based organizations across the United States and Puerto Rico. We believe in an America where economic, political, and social progress is a reality for all Latinos, and we collaborate across communities to achieve it. For more information on UnidosUS, visit or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and X.