A national Latino association and the University of Arkansas business school will start a center to help Hispanics advance their careers and train company executives on diversity in a fast-growing part of the state.

The organization, ALPFA, and the Sam M. Walton College of Business will announce the creation of the ALPFA Institute on Friday in Fayetteville. U.S. Rep. Loretta Sanchez, D-Calif., will speak at the announcement before attending a town hall meeting on Latino leadership.

The institute will offer a certificate through Walton College in diversity leadership, along with programs for people ranging from high school students to company CEOs.

"When you think of diversity and inclusion, we all benefit from having a good perspective and understanding," said Adam Arroyos, the institute's president, in an interview.

Arroyos declined to say how much the institute has received so far in grants.

Northwest Arkansas has a burgeoning Latino population. More than one-third of Arkansas' 186,000 Hispanics live in the region. About 6.4 percent of the state's 2.9 million people are Hispanic. The region is also home to several major corporations that have attracted Hispanic workers, including Wal-Mart, Tyson Foods and J.B. Hunt.

The institute will offer three separate centers for global leadership, women's leadership, and diversity and inclusion, Arroyos said. It will also produce research on Latino business, he said.

Programs for high school students will be free, while others will cost up to $6,000. The institute will launch a website Friday to allow prospective students to enroll.

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