This month, STEM enthusiasts across the country are celebrating National Engineers Week. Here at CTEq, we’re excited to be part of the festivities (we’re hosting a STEM Salon tomorrow on Capitol Hill! Stay tuned for the video.) but even all of the E Week excitement can’t keep us from bringing you our brand new data release, Engineering Emergency: African Americans and Hispanics Lack Pathways to Engineering.
In this report, we address a growing concern about the barriers to lucrative engineering careers for students of color. Pay for engineers is tens of thousands of dollars more than the average annual salary for those with a similar educational attainment and its unemployment rate is about half of the overall unemployment rate. It’s alarming, then, to consider that minority students interested in engineering are facing roadblocks from the outset of their educational careers and can find themselves unprepared for the pursuit of these profitable, secure jobs.
In taking a closer look, we found that African American students in particular are held back by a lack of access to the building blocks of a successful engineering career. For example, 35 percent of these students attend high schools that do not offer calculus instruction, and 20 percent lack regular access to high school physics courses. Only three in ten African American students who have the potential to succeed in Advanced Placement math classes actually take those classes. Without the necessary foundation of a strong, well-rounded STEM education, African Americans will continue to lose ground on the engineering pathway.
With increasing demand for engineers and the invaluable skills that engineering degrees and training afford them, addressing these barriers to entry is especially critical if the U.S. intends to maintain its position as a global innovation leader. This untapped potential means that if African American and Hispanic students aren’t given the chance to succeed in engineering, we all stand to fail.
For more on this challenge, be sure to download the full Engineering Emergency infographic and follow the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #EmergencE. From mechanical to chemical and aeronautics to computing, engineers make our world go ‘round and we hope you will join us this week in celebrating them. Happy Engineers Week from CTEq!