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How to Change Underrepresentation of Minorities in STEM

Science, math, engineering and technology (STEM) have been hot topics of education for quite some time and they’re not going away any time soon. STEM education has reached new heights and new levels since it reached popularity years ago. Today, jobs in STEM have grown 79% since 1990.

Though growing at astronomical speeds, this level of growth is not represented within the black and Hispanic population. There are many reasons as to why these groups are underrepresented, but one of the main reasons is limited access to quality education.

Obstacles occur for black and Hispanic students, who are more likely to live in poverty than their white peers and more likely to be the first in their family to attend college. These students are more likely to attend poorly resourced public schools that don’t have the necessary curriculum needed to prepare them for college-level STEM courses. Even if prepared, paying for college becomes another burden.

This reason alone is enough for us to invest in the lives of children in underserved communities. Programs such as the Real World Academy 21st Century STEM program is what students need. The STEM program provides an after-school outlet for students to learn all about science. Recently, students finished a project on drones where they programmed, launched and taped school events held throughout the school semester. This is not just the future. This is now.

Many kids in this program would not have a chance to learn about drones or go in depth into subjects like engineering and technology. Programs in STEM help to close the gap and level the playing field for all to reap the benefits of a career in STEM.

Not only is STEM a part of our everyday lives, but careers in STEM are higher paying and is a route to breaking barriers in low-income and impoverished communities. The national average for STEM job annual salaries is $87,570, where the national average for non-STEM occupations sits at roughly $45,700.

The Trump Administration recently released a plan to help secure the future through STEM education: Charting a Course for Success: America’s Strategy for STEM Education.

Improving STEM education is a national imperative. America’s Strategy for STEM Education charts a course for success, and the Federal Government stands ready to join with the national education community. Together, we will ensure that all Americans have lifelong access to high-quality STEM education and the United States is the global leader in STEM literacy, innovation, and employment.

We need to make sure that students in the low-income neighborhoods are a part of this plan and are included in the success of our nation.

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