We ask that you explore challenges and barriers to diversity at every level of education and employment in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math and make recommendations for ways the federal government can better ensure a robust, diverse workforce in the years to come. Specifically, we ask that you examine the following:
What are the key social and institutional factors that shape the decisions of minority students to commit to education and careers in the science, technology, engineering, and math fields?
What are the specific barriers preventing greater minority student participation in the science, technology, engineering, and math fields?
What are the primary focus points for policy intervention to increase the recruitment and retention of underrepresented minorities in America’s workforce in the future?
What programs are underway to increase diversity in the science, technology, engineering, and math fields? Which programs have been shown to be effective? How can they be expanded and improved?
What is the role of minority-serving institutions in the diversification of America’s workforce in these fields? How can that role be supported and strengthened?
How can the public and private sectors better assist minority students in their efforts to join America’s workforce in these fields?
The National Academy’s insight on these issues will provide us with needed guidance on how we can work most affectively to develop a strong and diverse workforce in these fields that is equipped for success in the global economy of the 21st Century and beyond. As you know, our diversity is one of our greatest strengths, but we cannot fully utilize that strength unless we ensure that all Americans are given the educational and career opportunities they need and deserve. We thank the National Academy for its commitment to this fundamental issue and for its consideration of our request to conduct further study in this area as soon as possible.
Edward M. Kennedy
Barbara A. Mikulski
Hillary Rodham Clinton