UnidosUS and Verizon Continue to Bridge Digital Skills Gap Among Latinos

Expanded partnership includes an additional $1.4 million in funding from Verizon to support Latinx @ Work Program

WASHINGTON, DC— UnidosUS (formerly the National Council of La Raza), the nation’s largest Latino civil rights and advocacy organization, announced today its receipt of $1.4 million in grant funding from Verizon to support the organization’s Latinx @ Work Program. Verizon is a founding partner of the program, which launched in 2019. The initiative aims to close the technology skills gap among Hispanics and ensure they are well-equipped to thrive in an increasingly competitive—and digital—workforce. This commitment from Verizon builds upon a $1 million grant provided to the organization in 2019 to help foster digital inclusion and human prosperity, key parts of the company’s responsible business plan: Citizen Verizon.

The importance of digital literacy has taken a new urgency in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Latinos, who are overrepresented in jobs that have less demand for digital skills and face a greater risk of displacement due to automation, reported significant job and wage losses at the start of the outbreak. The UnidosUS Latinx @ Work Program focuses on equipping Latinos with digital literacy and job readiness skills so they can advance in their careers and onto higher-wage jobs.

“We are grateful to our partners at Verizon for their continued investment in the Latino community and support of this program,” said Sonia M. Pérez, UnidosUS Chief Operating Officer. “At a moment when the pandemic has driven a shift online and is transforming the way we work, our Latinx @ Work Program is as necessary as it is timely. This grant will help us build a digitally-skilled Hispanic workforce in partnership with our community-based Affiliates and broaden opportunities for upward mobility in our community.”

“In the face of a global pandemic and companies worldwide automating labor-intensive roles many times held by members of the Latinx community, digital literacy skills are crucial now more than ever,” said Carrie Hughes, Director of Corporate Social Responsibility at Verizon. “The tools and digital skills needed to advance into higher-wage jobs should be available to all communities and our grant serves as only one aspect of our ongoing commitment to workforce development and helping ensure digital inclusion for all.”

UnidosUS will leverage the partnership with its Affiliates—local organizations with strong ties in Latino communities across the country—to deliver relevant curricula and provide participants access to the professional services needed to become more digitally competent in the workforce. The grant will also include funding to cover the cost of equipment, including laptops and Wi-Fi hotspots, as the program pivots to a blended-learning model. The additional funding will help close a gap in access to broadband services and devices among program participants.

Since its launch in 2019, UnidosUS’s Latinx @ Work program has helped almost 500 participants hone their technology skills; connected more than half of them to jobs or post-secondary education opportunities; and expanded its programming from six to 11 community-based organizations in cities including Chicago, Seattle, Modesto, Denver, and New York, among others.

UnidosUS, previously known as NCLR (National Council of La Raza), is the nation’s largest Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization. Through its unique combination of expert research, advocacy, programs, and an Affiliate Network of nearly 300 community-based organizations across the United States and Puerto Rico, UnidosUS simultaneously challenges the social, economic, and political barriers that affect Latinos at the national and local levels. For more than 50 years, UnidosUS has united communities and different groups seeking common ground through collaboration, and that share a desire to make our country stronger. For more information on UnidosUS, visit unidosus.org or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE, Nasdaq: VZ) was formed on June 30, 2000, and is one of the world’s leading providers of technology, communications, information, and entertainment products and services. Headquartered in New York City and with a presence around the world, Verizon generated revenues of $128.3 billion in 2020. The company offers data, video, and voice services and solutions on its award-winning networks and platforms, delivering on customers’ demand for mobility, reliable network connectivity, security, and control.