The National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering (NACME) has released a report on the dearth of African American, Latino, and American Indian and Alaska Native students who pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Titled Confronting the “New” American Dilemma, the report asserts that if the United States is going to be able to maintain its competitive edge in the global economy, it will need “to activate the hidden workforce of young men and women who have traditionally been underrepresented in STEM careers.”
The report describes what NACME calls “the 4 percent problem”: (O)nly 4 percent of underrepresented minorities graduate [from] high school ‘engineering eligible,’” it reads. “For example, in 2002, 690,000 minority students graduated from high school, but only about 28,000 had taken the necessary math and science courses to be fully qualified for engineering study.” The report also contains a number of data tables related to underrepresented minorities’ enrollment in and graduation from engineering programs. It outlines actions that the K–12, higher education, government, and business sectors should take to increase minorities’ STEM participation.