President Obama and the Hispanic Community

Renewing the American Dream: Supporting Vibrant Hispanic Communities Across the Nation

Since taking office, President Obama has been focused on helping all individuals reach their goals.  For Hispanic and other communities, this means promoting job creation, providing accessible health care, making sure that every American has access to a quality education, and fighting for comprehensive immigration reform while standing up civil rights.

The American Jobs Act that the President recently sent to Congress will provide the short-term assistance needed to move the economy faster to sustainable growth.

The American Jobs Act is a set of common sense proposals that have found widespread support from both Democrats and Republicans in the past.

Common sense actions like extending unemployment benefits to help people support their families while they are looking for work, and reforming the system with training programs to help workers develop the skills our employers need now.

Outside experts say this bill can create 1.5 million jobs without adding a cent to the deficit. 

The goal is clear, simple and straightforward: Put more people back to work and put more money in the pockets of working Americans.

‪As the only government agency with economic development as its sole mission, the Economic Development Administration is working to support the President’s jobs agenda by helping catalyze bottom-up plans to strengthen our regions and support our entrepreneurs and innovators as they create the jobs of the future.  We’re doing great things to support vibrant Hispanic communities across the Nation.

In Fresno, California, for example, EDA partnered with the Fresno Area Hispanic Foundation to support the Downtown Business HUB.  This innovative business incubator facility is providing local entrepreneurs of various ethnicities the opportunity to develop and grow their ideas for new products and services to create the economy of the future.  The project is expected to help create at least 900 jobs and spur $36 million in private investment.

In New Mexico, EDA supports the Bi-National Sustainability Laboratory, which is working to foster long-term, technology-based, sustainable economic development of the U.S.-Mexico border region.  The EDA investment will help to support, promote, and expand technology-based economic development along the U.S. - Mexico Border between the States of New Mexico and Texas, enriching majority Hispanic communities along the U.S. Border. 

And, in San Antonio, Texas, an EDA grant is working to help Avenida Guadalupe, a local non-profit, undertake an extensive economic development and community revitalization initiative in the Guadalupe Westside planning area of San Antonio, Texas.  This area is 97% Hispanic.   The EDA investment will construct commercial office space and workforce development activities in the arts, as well as other fields. 

These investments represent the American people’s inherently forward and innovative thinking and are helping President Obama achieve his commitment to assuring that that every American who wants a job can find a job. 

That’s an ambitious undertaking. I don’t think we should expect anything less from a President who made “Hope” the centerpiece of his campaign. And today, it’s working.  Even during these tough times, I see hope becoming reality in communities across this country.  Good things can happen in tough times.

This vision doesn’t just belong to the President.  It doesn’t just belong to those of us in government.  It belongs to business and labor and groups of all kinds.  It belongs to our entire nation.  And every day, I’m honored to work to make it real. 

John Fernandez is U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development

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