There’s reportedly a gap between the supply of engineers and the demand for them, and the Foundation Coalition web site suggests that minorities might be among those who can help fill it. Blacks and Hispanics combined comprise less than 5 percent of the engineering workforce, Foundation Coalition web site notes. If they major in certain engineering areas, they might expect employment growth over the next decade, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This year, students with engineering degrees of different specialties commanded four of the five highest salaries and as much as nearly $75,000 a year, the National Association of Colleges and Employers reports.
Engineers generally work with math and science principles to find economical solutions to technical problems, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports. They specialize in areas such as electronics, computers, petroleum, mechanics, aeronautics, biomedical sciences and the environment. Several organizations have been established to encourage minority participating in engineering fields such as these.
Students who want to enter engineering careers typically have to obtain bachelor’s degrees, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports. Scholarships, fellowships and grants for college typically don’t have to be repaid, and several of them are available to minority students who want to offset tuition costs and fees associated with pursuing engineering degrees. Large corporations are joining agencies as part of mentoring programs that some say can improve retention and success with engineering studies.
A non-profit student organization known as the National Society for Black Engineers offers mentoring services to its members. AT&T, on the other hand, has partnered with an e-mentoring network known as MentorNet. The web network pairs students with professional engineer mentors, and they communicate with each other via the Internet. The AT&T partnership is to focus on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities, a news release on the e-mentoring network web site suggests.
AT&T is involved with encouraging minority participation in engineering in other areas as well. Mary Fernandez, an AT&T executive director profiled in Hispanic Engineering & Technology Magazine, chairs a corporate fellowship program and assists in advising, energizing and evaluating applicants for women and minority-targeted graduate scholarships, according to the report. Fernandez, who called herself AT&T’s first minority female executive director, works also with Young Science Achievers to stimulate interest in science and engineering among girls and minority students, the report noted.
IBM also has gotten in on the action. A partnership between IBM, the Society of Professional Hispanic Engineers and the Hispanic Engineer National Achievement Awards Conference is known as the Hispanic Alliance for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Opportunities, according to information on the society’s web site. The alliance began in 2007 with a STEM-centered camp for youngsters that might spur interest in the field at an early age, the web information noted.
In an effort to get underrepresented students at community colleges to move on to bachelor’s degree studies in engineering a National Coalition of Underrepresented Racial & Ethnic Advocacy Groups is considering working with these two-year colleges, its web site shows. In June, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology engineer and educator was awarded for his efforts toward advancing engineering education and practice around the world, Hispanic Engineering and Information Technology reported. Paul Edward Gray, according to the article, worked in part to encourage stronger relationships between academia and industry and to enhance minority opportunities.
In addition to scholarships offered by individual colleges, universities and technical schools, minorities might apply for any number of engineering scholarships from non-profit organizations, foundations and large corporations that can be applied to their engineering masters degree. The National Society of Black Engineers, for example, offers its members scholarships. Black Excel on its web site provides a list of minority scholarships for general and specialized studies. A variety of scholarship opportunities can be found on the Hispanic Scholarship Fund web site. The Society of Professional Hispanic Engineers, like the National Society of Black Engineers, has student chapters. Its web site shows that members have access to scholarship opportunities in math, science and engineering. There’s also a minorities in engineering division of the American Society for Engineering Education, which has scholarship, fellowship and internship opportunities on its web site. The wide variety of aid is available for online course programs and traditional campus education.