Minorities Underrepresented in STEM, Report Finds

Although minorities are the fastest-growing segment of the population, and demographic shifts point toward a future in which some states will soon be "majority minority" states, African Americans, Native Americans, and Hispanics are underrepresented in the fields of science and engineering, a new report from the National Academies finds.

Funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the report — Expanding Underrepresented Minority Participation: America's Science and Technology Talent at the Crossroads — found that while African Americans, Native Americans, and Hispanics comprise 28.5 percent of the U.S. population, they represent only 9.1 percent of college-educated Americans in the science and engineering workforce.

For the country to continue to grow and maintain its global economic leadership, the report's authors recommend that the federal government, industry, and postsecondary institutions collaborate with K-12 schools and school systems to increase minority access to and demand for postsecondary STEM education and technical training. In June 2009, Carnegie and the Institute for Advanced Study issued a report that included an urgent call to "transform mathematics and science education and deliver it equitably and with excellence to all students," along with specific recommendations for government, business, and labor. To date, more than sixty-five groups have affirmed their support of the recommendations.

As part of the effort, Carnegie has pledged to extend the Opportunity Equation initiative, a project created in partnership with IAS to promote equity and excellence in mathematics and science education. Carnegie also announced that it will include a strategic focus on STEM learning in all its education grantmaking.

"Expanding Underrepresented Minority Participation in STEM." Carnegie Corporation of New York Press Release 10/12/2010.