Illinois Latinos Underrepresented in State Jobs

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CHICAGO --- Over the past decade, just 150 Latino employees have been added to the state workforce, according to analysis released in Springfield today by the Latino Policy Forum and the Illinois Association for Hispanic State Employees (IAHSE). More than 14 percent of labor force in Illinois, Latinos were only 4.7 percent of the state government workforce in 2010, with just over 2,000 state employees.

To achieve parity, nearly 4,300 Latinos would need to be hired at the state level. But in these lean economic times, such parity will be difficult to achieve, said Martha Lopez, president of IAHSE.

However, despite state belt-tightening, Illinois did hire or promote more than 2,600 times last year --- and less than 200 of those positions were filled by Latinos. We must ensure that Latinos are aware of and being considered for these openings.

Employment disparities are particularly troubling given that Latinos accounted for more than 100 percent of the population growth in Illinois over the last decade. The nearly 500,000 more Latinos in Illinois compensated for White and African American population declines. Overall, Illinois grew by just over 411,000 people.

The Latino Policy Forum analysis is based on fiscal year 2010 employment data for the ten largest state agencies, on file with the Secretary of State, which represent 93.3 percent of the employees in coded state-level positions. Of the 44,841 employees, less than five percent were Latino. Of new hires, only 7.6 percent were Latino.