May 31, 2024

HSI leaders hold Roundtable Discussion with U.S. Department of Commerce at Central New Mexico Community College

SAN ANTONIO –The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities and UnidosUS held a roundtable discussion with the U.S. Department of Commerce at Central New Mexico Community College in Albuquerque, New Mexico on May 31, 2024. Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology and director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Laurie E. Locascio, Ph.D., 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. CNM President Tracy Hartzler, J.D., gave the welcome remarks, followed by Congresswoman Melanie Stansbury, U.S. Representative, New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District.

“Hispanic-Serving Institutions play a crucial role in ensuring the vitality of America’s technological future,” said HACU President and CEO Antonio R. Flores. “These roundtable discussions with the Department of Commerce and HSIs, our most diverse institutions of higher education, as well as community organizations provide insights to support the success of STEM students in the classroom and beyond.”

New Mexico currently has 24 Hispanic-Serving Institutions and three Emerging HSIs. The visit by Under Secretary Locascio underscores the crucial importance of HSIs in developing the future workforce with students from diverse backgrounds. Joined by New Mexico Hispanic-Serving Institution leaders from across the state, the discussion emphasized the role HSIs play in expanding access to numerous career paths through higher education and how graduates can contribute to economic growth and innovation by taking positions in key sectors.

“We appreciate U.S. Department of Commerce Under Secretary Locascio visiting New Mexico to discuss how the Department of Commerce can increase opportunities for our local employers and students to enter high-quality careers in sectors supported by CHIPS & Science Act investments,” said CNM President Tracy Hartzler. “With significant federal investments in our national labs, Intel, Maxeon Solar Technologies and other employers and contractors in New Mexico, CNM is pleased to expand our programming and attract new generations of students and community members to pursuing high-demand, high-quality careers in advanced manufacturing, semi-conductor chip manufacturing and other STEM-related fields. We're pleased to be able to provide access to high-quality, high-wage jobs, right here in New Mexico, that make our community and country more secure and lead to greater prosperity for all.”

The discussion centered on potential partnerships among HSIs, community-based organizations, and industry/employers to provide opportunities to develop 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 the nation’s increasingly tech-driven economy.

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

Central New Mexico Community College
Doña Ana Community College – NMSU
Eastern New Mexico University-Roswell
New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology
New Mexico Junior College
New Mexico State University
San Juan College
Southeast New Mexico College
University of New Mexico-Valencia Campus

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.


Photo courtesy of Central New Mexico Community College.