In a move that could bolster internships, jobs and scholarships for students – and promote FIU’s research and legislative priorities on a national scale – the university has signed a collaborative agreement with the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC.)
It is the first such partnership between the USHCC and a public university in the nation.
“This is an historic partnership for our FIU,’’ said President Mark B. Rosenberg, who met with USHCC President and CEO Javier Palomarez at the Reagan House this week to sign the agreement.
“We are excited to join with USHCC and we look forward to promoting our shared interests, including recruitment, research, legislative advocacy and economic development.’’
The largest Hispanic business organization in the country, the USHCC advocates on behalf of nearly 3.2 million Hispanic-owned businesses that together contribute more than $486 billion to the U.S. economy each year. It also serves as an umbrella to more than 200 local chambers and business associations across the nation and partners with more than 240 major corporations.
“The USHCC is proud to partner with Florida International University – a world class institution that awards more bachelor’s and master’s degrees to Hispanic students than any other school in the country,” Palomarez said. “FIU has demonstrated – both in word and action – a true commitment to cultivating the economic and professional development of the next generation of American leaders.”
In addition to creating internship and job opportunities for students, the USHCC will connect FIU to Hispanic-owned businesses around the United States for possible collaboration and work with FIU’s Governmental Relations team to advocate for shared legislative priorities.
For its part, FIU will support shared research priorities, including STEM, healthcare, agriculture, energy, trade and travel.
In addition, FIU’s Latin American and Caribbean Center (LACC), School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) and theSmall Business Development Center (SBDC), among others – will help promote investment in and success of Hispanic businesses and entrepreneurs.
Kevin Hernandez, an FIU alumnus who now serves as USHCC’s manager of government affairs and policy, was instrumental in brokering the partnership, said Carlos Becerra, FIU’s director of federal relations.
“This partnership is proof that engaged alumni like Kevin Hernandez are the future of our collaborative advocacy efforts – locally and in our nation’s capital,’’ Becerra said.
“This partnership is also a testament to the standing that FIU has as an urban research university and a leader in economic development, job creation and entrepreneurship,’’ Becerra added. “Our engagement in these areas holds value in helping inform the national dialogue in partnership with organizations like the USHCC.”
Hernandez, who graduated last year with a degree in international relations and began working with the USHCC in May, said he had a personal interest in bringing FIU and the chamber together.
“It was something I felt very strongly about – that we could find ways to collaborate – from research and events to jobs and internship opportunities for FIU students,’’ he said. “What sets this apart from other partnerships is that we see FIU as being a research arm and thought leader for our work in higher education.’’
With more than 60 percent Hispanic students, FIU is the leading university in the nation for awarding bachelor’s and master’s degrees to Hispanic students.
Nicole Kaufman Glasgow, interim vice president for engagement, said the partnership is a natural fit for FIU – and one that will be beneficial for both entities.
“This is precisely the kind of public-private partnership that FIU seeks to develop locally and throughout the state and nation,’’ Kaufman Glasgow said. “We see it as an opportunity for our students, our alumni and our faculty to collaborate in meaningful ways and interact with the vast network of corporations and businesses that USHCC brings to the table.”