Alumnus bridges FIU with U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

Amin Colominas/ Staff Writer

The University and the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce have recently entered a partnership that benefits both organizations locally and nationally.

The partnership, the first ever between the USHCC and a public university, hopes to provide internships, jobs and scholarships for students while also creating a platform to promote the University’s research and legislative priorities nationally, according to the USHCC website.

This collaborative agreement became possible through the efforts of University alumnus Kevin Hernandez.

Hernandez began working as the USHCC’s manager of government affairs and policy last May and immediately pursued the possibility of bringing his alma mater and new workplace together.

In the USHCC website, Hernandez was quoted as saying, “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.”

Carlos Becerra, University director of federal relations, praised the efforts of Hernandez.

“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.

He said that the USHCC’s interest for a partnership with the University was caused by the University’s involvement with a “number of students graduating with STEM degrees, a priority for the chamber,” and that he believes the partnership will serve to “amplify our voice and their voice to Washington D.C.”

Becerra looks forward to jointly advocating “issues that relate to making small businesses thrive.”

According to him, students who graduate with STEM degrees make up one of the largest communities that support and have small businesses.

“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 said. “Our engagement in these areas holds value in helping inform the national dialogue in partnership with organizations like the USHCC.”

In February, University President Mark B. Rosenberg met with the USHCC President and Chief Executive Officer Javier Palomarez at the Reagan House on the Modesto A. Maidique Campus to sign the agreement for the partnership.

According to an FIU News article, Rosenberg commented, “We are excited to join with USHCC and we look forward to promoting our shared interests, including recruitment, research, legislative advocacy and economic development.”

Palomarez said that the University has demonstrated a true commitment to cultivating the economic and professional development of the next generation of American leaders, according to the article.

“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,” he said.

The USHCC will be creating new internship and job opportunities for University students by bringing them in contact with Hispanic-owned businesses all over the United States.

It will also be working closely with the University’s Governmental Relations team in order to bring to light both organizations’ shared legislative priorities.

The University will be tasked with supporting both organizations’ shared research priorities – namely STEM, healthcare, agriculture, trade and travel.

University facilities, including the Latin American and Caribbean Center, the School of International and Public Affairs and the Small Business Development Center, will be utilized to promote Hispanic businesses and entrepreneurs.

Kevin Portela, a freshman business major, shared his sentiment on the partnership.

“It really goes to show the impact that ‘Worlds Ahead’ learning has on both a national and local level,” Portela said. “The voice of FIU will be heard all over the country. Being Hispanic and a current FIU student, I think the partnership is a wonderful idea and I can’t wait to see what it means for the future.”

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