MILWAUKEE–Several of Milwaukee’s prominent Hispanic business and community leaders have launched an effort to improve economic opportunities and representation among Latinos in the region, according to Milwaukee news portal BizTimes.
The Hispanic Collaborative, which was established with a grant from the Greater Milwaukee Foundation and is based out of the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce’s offices, involves more than 150 organizations and individuals.
BizTimes quoted Hispanic leaders as saying that the collaborative will convene community working groups to target three key areas: addressing high rates of poverty by finding strategies to move Hispanics to higher-paying and higher-skilled positions; increasing the number of Hispanic-owned businesses by linking them to the innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystem; and increasing Hispanic civic participation through voting, public service and advocacy.
Nancy Hernandez, former president and founder of ABRAZO Multicultural Marketing and Communication, is leading the collaborative. Hernandez noted that, over the past 25 years, 100 percent of Milwaukee’s population growth and job growth has come solely from the growth of the Hispanic community, according to BizTimes.
“This is why the inclusive economic prosperity work of the Hispanic Collaborative, why the investment now in this initiative is needed in order for all of us to reach our regional economic growth goals,” BizTimes quoted Hernandez as saying. “Hispanics are our future workers, consumers and innovators, and ensuring that they are in the best possible position to contribute to growth is an important part of the overall health and vibrancy of our community.”
Rolando Rodriguez, president and CEO for Marcus Theatres, is chairman of the board of the Hispanic Collaborative
The new initiative is more than two years in the making, prompted by a GMF-commissioned study in 2016 that examined the impact of Milwaukee’s Latino community. That study later led to the creation of a “Hispanic well-being index,” which ranked Milwaukee 39th among the nation’s 50 largest metropolitan areas on measures such as education, prosperity and health, according to BizTimes.
The Hispanic Collaborative goal is for the city to become one of the nation’s top 10 Hispanic communities, based on the index.