Hispanics and Mentoring Programs Are Critical in Filling STEM PositionsNovember 29, 2011
Despite the poor economy, there are nearly 3.2 million jobs available in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields according to a recent article in Forbes. Outside of the available jobs in STEM fields, there are other advantages such as salary. The article points out Georgetown University statistics which show that 63% of workers with an associate’s degree in STEM careers earn more than non-STEM workers with bachelor’s degrees, and 47% of workers with a bachelors in STEM positions earn more than non-STEM PhD’s.
From these statistics, it is clear that there are significant opportunities for workers entering STEM fields. Unfortunately there are not enough qualified workers to fill these STEM positions. The author believes that the rising Hispanic population is key to filling the gap in STEM employment. As always, there are challenges Hispanics will need to overcome. For one, education must be considered. There is an unfortunately high dropout rate in the Hispanic community, which detrimentally affects their ability to obtain good employment, especially in knowledge-based and STEM positions.
The article discussed the importance of mentoring as a game changer for getting Hispanics connected into STEM fields. I have discussed the importance of successful individuals and Hispanic professional associations in the past, and the author of the Forbes article mentions the efforts of the Society for Professional Hispanic Engineers (SPHE) in providing mentoring opportunities for interested Hispanic students. They have many programs which are designed to engage Hispanic students in science and technology education, boosting their desire and drive to do well academically.
In my opinion, engaging students is the most important early step to take in order to improve the number of Hispanic workers in STEM positions. An eager and engaged body of students turns into motivated and forward thinking workers and entrepreneurs. When you combine a well-educated and qualified workforce with engaged entrepreneurs, you have a recipe for innovation. Like the author, I am optimistic for the success of mentoring programs and the future of Hispanics in filling STEM positions and leading the way for new innovation.
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