Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) occupations are in high demand and continue to be among the fastest growing within the 21st century workforce across the US economy (BLS, 2017). And yet, despite comprising 27% of the US Population, only 11% of science and engineering jobs are held by Black, Latinx, and Native American workers (NSF, 2018).
The needs of this quickly evolving 21st century global workforce creates both an economic and social imperative to ensure students of color are equipped to engage in the STEM sector at parity with their peers.
Eliminating the barriers facing Black, Latinx, and Native American students who have the desire to enter STEM and computing professions has the potential to meet the projected demand for STEM workers in our future workforce, while broadening the economic opportunities of underrepresented communities of color.
Moreover, by investing in youth of color to enter and persist in STEM and computing occupations, they develop the skills to engage in the modern workforce while being empowered to leverage their lived experiences to solve the most pressing problems facing society (Bobb, 2016).