The U.S. workforce could employ as many as 140,000 additional African-American and Latino college graduates in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields annually if the gap in college completion in STEM by Blacks and Latinos closed to roughly match that of the White and Asian American STEM graduation rates, according to a new report released by the Washington-based Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies think tank.
“That figure is derived from the fact that African-Americans and Hispanics are under-represented in higher education generally and that, once they are there, graduate with degrees in [science and engineering] and [science and engineering-related] related fields at a far lower rate than their White and Asian American counterparts,” the report said.
In “STEM Urgency: Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Education in an Increasingly Unequal and Competitive World,” the report’s co-authors investigate the gaps in STEM education among African-American and Latino students. Among key findings in the report are that 17 percent of employed African-Americans older than 25 and 21 percent of employed Latinos older than 25 have a college degree in a STEM field. This compares to 22 percent of employed Whites older than 25 and 43 percent of employed Asian Americans older than 25.
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