Simply put, our country needs more African-American engineers to continue our nation’s progress and fill talent gaps in manufacturing. It begins with a commitment by business leaders to support organizations like the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), which is holding its annual convention in Pittsburgh today through Sunday.
Researchers trying to figure out how to get more black and Latino students into science, technology, engineering and mathematics usually focus on those students’ college years. In a new study that capitalizes on data from the National Center for Educational Statistics and methods that address causality, Cornell sociologists looked at an earlier portion of the pipeline - in high school, when students’ commitment to STEM fields tends to solidify.
Kamau Bobb is senior director of the Constellations Center for Equity in Computing at Georgia Tech. In this column, Bobb cites the lack of students of color in STEM majors, a failure that he believes ought to be on everyone’s mind as Atlanta pursues Amazon’s second headquarters. He contends the plan to lure Amazon here must consider how Georgia can democratize computing so STEM opportunities are open to all students.
According to the 2016 report titled, “Minority and Female Employment in the Oil & Natural Gas and Petrochemical Industries, 2015-2035” by IHS Global prepared for API, “nearly 1.9 million direct job opportunities are projected through 2035 in the oil and natural gas and petrochemical industries” and “African Americans and Hispanics will account for over 80 percent of the net increase in the labor force from 2015 to 2035.”
By 2020, STEM jobs in the United States are expected to increase by 10% (Lockard & Wolf, 2012); however, with some sectors reporting nearly 600,000 unfilled engineering jobs (BLS, 2015), declining numbers of engineering graduates cause alarm.
The data presented here are from a large scale, nationally-representative survey of African American youth (ages 11 to 17) and their parents, supplemented and informed by a series of ten focus groups with African American parents and youth across the country (for more information on the demographics of the survey and focus group samples, please see the Methodology).
Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) Chairman, G. K. Butterfield (NC) and Rep. Barbara Lee (CA), Co-Chair of the CBC Diversity Task Force, announced December 3, 2015, that seven national African American tech professional organizations have adopted African American Inclusion Plans (AAIPs) designed to increase tech diversity.