Survey Reveals Top Corporate Supporters of Black Science and Engineering Education

A survey published by US Black Engineer & Information Technology magazine lists the corporations and government organizations that are most supportive of America's historically Black engineering schools.

The magazine asked deans of the engineering programs at 14 historically black colleges and universities to list the corporations and government or non-profit organizations that provide the most support to their schools. The survey also received responses from Advancing Minorities' Interest in Engineering, a corporate-academic alliance.

"Doing this survey for the eleventh consecutive time, we are consistently finding many organizations that are doing their fair share in building the STEM pipeline," said Tyrone Taborn, editor in chief of US Black Engineer & Information Technology. STEM is an acronym for the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

"Black students and professionals want to know what these organizations are doing for their colleges because they want to work for employers that are committed to their community," added Taborn.

The companies and organizations recognized hail from all over the United States. Some of the more well known corporations on the list include Chrysler Group LLC, Ford Motor Company, General Electric, General Motors, Hewlett-Packard, Intel Corporation, Johnson Controls, Union Pacific and UPS.

"On behalf of Chrysler Group, we are honored to be recognized for our commitment to the nation's historically Black colleges and universities as a great source of STEM talent," said Georgette Borrego Dulworth, director of talent acquisition and diversity at the Auburn Hills, Mich.-based automobile company.

"Identifying and recruiting diverse talent with world-class skills is imperative to our company's continued success," Dulworth added.

Studies have repeatedly shown that Whites, and particularly White men, occupy a disproportionate percentage of the STEM workforce. Still, enrollments of African American students in graduate science and engineering programs grew by 50 percent in the last decade, compared with 35 percent for the nation as a whole, according to a report by Congressional Research Service.

The report also shows that African American students in both the 4th and 8th grades performed better on national mathematics tests in 2011 than they did in 1990.

Dr. James Mitchell serves as dean of Howard University's College of Engineering, Architecture and Computer Science, the program credited with producing the nation's largest number of African American engineers, architects and computer science professionals.

In a recent interview with Afro magazine, Dr. Mitchell emphasized the integral role that corporate and government partnerships play in his school's development plan.

"The plan includes forging partnerships with corporations, government agencies and foundations so we can internally increase funding for research and development," said Dr. Mitchell.

With unemployment for African-American men hovering around 50 percent, Dr. Mitchell said a STEM education can provide a huge boon for Blacks seeking work in a difficult and at times discriminatory job market.

"If you're trained to think analyze, diagnosis, make decisions, and plan to solve problems, you have a higher probability of being employed," he said. "And an education in the STEM fields provides those advantages."

The US Black Engineer & Information Technology survey found that the aerospace industry is especially supportive of historically Black colleges and universities. Lockheed Martin Corporation, Northrop Grumman Corporation and the Boeing Company received the highest number of votes from the survey committee.

Image credit: Steven Depolo, Flickr