National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering Convenes Experts on Capitol Hill to Discuss America’s Critical Need for Engineers and Scientists
Congressmen Payne and Holt Join Administration Officials and NACME Leadership to Address Issues Facing U.S and Minorities in Science, Technology, Education and Math Education
WASHINGTON, DC – October 5, 2010 – The National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering, Inc. (NACME), the leading supporter of minority higher education in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), recently brought together a distinguished group of Members of Congress, Administration officials and academics to look at the overall status of STEM education in the United States today, the legislative landscape and workforce issues.
Congressman Donald Payne (D-NJ), Congressman Rush Holt (D-NJ) and Dr. Steven J. Robinson of the White House Domestic Policy Council joined Dr. Irving Pressley McPhail, President and Chief Executive Officer of NACME and senior level representatives from the Departments of Education, Energy and Defense, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the National Science Foundation at the meeting entitled, “The New American Dilemma: Our Nation’s Critical Need for Engineers and Scientists.”
“The need for greater focus and investment in STEM education in America is well documented in terms of improving our economic competitiveness, national security and standard of living,” said Dr. Irving Pressley McPhail, President and Chief Executive Officer of NACME. “We were pleased to be able to bring together an exceptional group of leaders concerned about these issues and who understand the importance of community colleges in the process of expanding the ranks of minority graduates in STEM disciplines.”
The guest speakers at the event, which was sponsored by the Motorola Foundation, focused on the issues facing minorities in getting college degrees in the STEM disciplines. As part of the day’s events, NACME released its Community College Transfer Study which examines the role of community colleges as a critical pathway to meeting the national crisis in STEM education and analyzes the current and future role of community colleges in developing and expanding the ranks of graduates in these areas. To read the study click here.
“As you know we have been dealing with the STEM program for a very long time and we think we are on the right track,” said Congressman Donald Payne. “We are facing pressing times domestically and internationally and we have to be serious about taking a look at our educational system in general. The key for our nation is to move and continue to be the number one in the world, and we must move forward with a strong, solid elementary and secondary education.”
Congressman Rush Holt added to the conversation by stating that he and others like him do not consider STEM education as ‘just another subject’ but rather as a key to improved problem solving skills. “It is what students need for critical thinking, to learn how to ask questions and frame problems even if they are not going to become scientists and engineers. I really respect what NACME does,” said Holt. “I think we have a long way to go and it is so important that you’re here.”
Dr. Gail Schwartz shared remarks from Martha J. Kanter, Under Secretary, U.S. Department of Education, on what Kanter called a very important discussion about the crucial role that community colleges can and must play in the career pathways leading to science and engineering careers.
“President Obama is focused on equipping the next generation with 21st century knowledge and skills to create a world-class workforce,” stated Kanter. “This includes a special emphasis on promoting student achievement and careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. We know what works with STEM, and now we need to scale what we know. We need to engage students, particularly women and minorities, so that more of them pursue STEM majors, and complete their degrees in STEM fields.”
NACME is the largest private provider of scholarships in engineering for the underserved and underrepresented minority student population and the leading source of research information on the status of minorities in engineering education and employment. The organization’s study showed that 21 percent of NACME Scholars have transferred from a two-year community college to a NACME Partner University and that NACME transfer students have a higher grade point average (GPA) than traditional four-year NACME Scholars.