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The Latine Tech Ecosystem

Key Issues

The demand for skilled technical professionals is expected to exponentially grow over the next decade, with many of those jobs focused on emerging technologies. Despite an estimated 78% of net new workers between 2020 and 2030 being Latine, they are being systematically shut out of opportunities to develop new digital and technological skills to keep pace with advancements.

In partnership with Hispanic Heritage Foundation, Somos VC and Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, The State of Tech Diversity: The Latine Tech Ecosystem report chronicles Latine exclusion from one of the fastest growing industries and the solutions that urgently need to be implemented to create a more equitable technology ecosystem and reflects the power and perspectives of Latine communities.

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K-12 Computer Science Education

As broadening participation efforts continue to miss the mark despite student and parent interest in CS and technology, strategies can no longer solely focus on racialized myths about student deficits. Rather, systemic failures that have led to stagnated progress among Latine students must be addressed to impact meaningful participation:

  • Only 78% of Latine students have access to foundational CS courses in their high schools, in comparison to 82% of white students and 89% of Asian students.
  • Latine students comprise 29% of the high school population, but just 21% of students in foundational CS courses, 20% of students in AP CS Principles, 12% of students in AP CS A.
  • Just 45% of Latino boys and 38% of Latina girls passed the AP CS P exam–the course which was developed with the intention of broadening participation.

Postsecondary Tech Pathways

The lack of investments and accountability in building a more diverse computing faculty and eliminating gatekeeping practices currently underlying university computing departments will continue to unveil an insincere commitment to building a healthy, functional CS pathway. Furthermore, the expected upskilling and reskilling that will be required of the current workforce to transition into 21st century tech-enabled roles requires alternative pathways to be sufficiently resourced, scalable, sustainable, and regulated.

  • Latine students comprise just 13% of bachelor’s degrees conferred in computing disciplines, despite comprising 17% of the bachelor’s degrees conferred across all majors.
  • HSIs were responsible for conferring over half (53%) of CS associate’s degrees and 40% of CS bachelor’s degrees earned by Latine students.
  • Just 8% of bootcamp participants were Latine.
  • Latine workers held 16% of registered tech apprenticeship roles in 2023, a 133% increase between 2018 and 2023.

Tech Workforce

On the heels of the global shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the brutal murder of George Floyd in May 2020 sparked protests nationally to demand systemic changes to address racial inequities across the U.S. While the public saw virtue signaling by the tech industry to double down on racial equity commitments, the data reveal the lackluster reality. Furthermore, in the six states housing two-thirds of the total Latine population across the U.S., 40% of the Latine workforce are at risk of being displaced by automation; this necessitates rapid upskilling and reskilling strategies to mitigate the potential widening of economic inequality.

  • Nearly 1 in 5 workers in the U.S. is Latine; however, just 1 in 10 workers in tech is Latine. In management, only 5% of executive leadership roles and 3% of tech company board members are held by Latine talent.
  • Latine talent comprise just 6% of technical roles across the largest U.S.-based tech companies. At the current pace, parity in the Latine technical workforce will not be reached until the year 2077.
  • For every dollar of salary made by white men, Latino men make 3% less and Latina women make 8% less.
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Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital

The tech entrepreneurship ecosystem has rarely made it easy for historically-excluded groups to succeed. The low numbers of entrepreneurs and fund managers who are part of these groups is an indicator of the insular context of this space that lends itself to identifying and providing resources to a narrowly defined group of investors and founders –primarily white men.

  • Just 6% of all VC investment professionals are Latine, and just 5% of partner-level VC investments professionals are Latine.
  • At the height of venture funding in 2021, with over $250B invested, Latine tech founders only received 3% of capital.
  • At the height of venture funding in 2021, Latine founders only received 3% of capital.
  • As VC funding slowed in 2023, capital deployed to Latine entrepreneurs dropped to just 1.3% of all U.S. venture investments.

Immediate measures are needed to dismantle the systemic barriers and disparities confronting the Latine community within the tech sector. 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.

Lili GangasChief Technology Community Officer at the Kapor Center

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. 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.

Antonio TijerinoPresident and CEO, Hispanic Heritage Foundation

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. 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.

Mariela SalasExecutive Director of SomosVC

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. 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.

Marco A. DavisPresident & CEO of CHCI

Download the Full Latine Tech Ecosystem Report