Last Friday, I participated in a policy roundtable on “Leveraging Community Colleges for Minority Student STEM Engagement” organized by the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies and hosted at Microsoft’s Policy Office in Washington, D.C. This roundtable meeting launched a Joint Center initiative on a topic in which libraries of all types are becoming increasingly involved. A broad range of stakeholders was represented at the roundtable, from the National Alliance of Black School Educators, the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, and the National Black Caucus of State Legislators, to Verizon, TechNet, and the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation.
For many years, national policy makers have lamented the low number of students who focus on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields—and the consequent risk to our economic and technological competitiveness. Minority students, in particular, are underrepresented in STEM fields.
White House advisor Thomas Kalil discussed how the Obama Administration has placed a major focus of its educational initiatives on community colleges, as evidenced through the Advanced Graduation Initiative and the first-ever White House Summit on Community Colleges. In addition, FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn and federal officials from several other agencies explained the urgent national need to increase the number of students in STEM fields.
Read more at District Dispatch.