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Congressman Tony Cardenas

Representing the 29th District of California

CÁRDENAS, COLLEAGUES, CALL ON PRESIDENT TO PRODUCE 100,000 HISPANIC ENGINEERS IN 10 YEARS

Sep 24, 2014
Press Release
Following his appearance at a Hispanic Heritage Month event entitled, "A New America: Empowering Hispanic Millennials for Tech Leadership,” U.S. Rep. Tony Cárdenas (D-San Fernando Valley), joined by several House colleagues, wrote President Barack Obama, calling on him to commit the United States to developing 100,000 Latino engineering graduates over the next ten years.

CÁRDENAS, COLLEAGUES, CALL ON PRESIDENT TO PRODUCE 100,000 HISPANIC ENGINEERS IN 10 YEARS

 

(San Fernando Valley, Calif.) -- Following his appearance at a Hispanic Heritage Month event entitled, "A New America: Empowering Hispanic Millennials for Tech Leadership,” U.S. Rep. Tony Cárdenas (D-San Fernando Valley), joined by several House colleagues, wrote President Barack Obama, calling on him to commit the United States to developing 100,000 Latino engineering graduates over the next ten years.

 

More than 407,000 engineers from the “baby boomer” generation are expected to retire by 2022. Cárdenas’ call comes at a time when Latinos are the most rapidly growing segment of the American population. However, only 7,000 Latinos graduate with engineering degrees, less than 9 percent of the total cohort of engineering graduates. This number is less than half the percentage of Latinos in the United States population as a whole. 

 

“Latinos are proud of our experiences, our achievements and our contributions to this nation, but we must also be willing to look at areas where we can improve,” said Cárdenas. “The Latino population is a resource that we cannot afford to ignore, if we are to close the gap between the engineers we are currently educating and the engineers we will need to remain competitive. So, I call on President Obama to dedicate our nation to overcoming the challenges Latinos face in STEM careers, and to create 100,000 new Latino engineers. As the President has said, America is better when we field a full team.”

 

In 2010 only 53 percent of Latino second-graders in California were proficient in math. Because of this, only 17 percent of AP Calculus and Statistics test takers were Latino, though far more were eligible.

 

One segment of the letter to President Obama echos this, “Latinos were only 10% of engineering enrollees in our colleges and universities. This is largely due to the fact that in a state like California, where a majority of K-12 students are Latino, only 53% of Latino second-graders were proficient in math in 2010.”

 

One major concern is the “digital divide”. More than 40 percent of Latino families do not have internet access on a computer at home. Because of this, Latino children without computer access frequently miss out on skills critical to the study of STEM subjects, leading to difficulty landing a job in a STEM field, like the tech industry.

 

The letter to the President and the requests made were co-signed by Reps. Costa, Garcia, Grijalva, Gutierrez, Honda, Lujan, Lujan Grisham, Ruiz, Sires and Vargas.

 

Text of the letter can be found below --

 

 

 

President Barack Obama

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW

Washington, D.C. 20006

Dear Mr. President:

We are writing to urge you to set a national goal of graduating 100,000 Latino engineers over the next decade. America is the world leader in innovation and creation of new ideas. In order to ensure our nation’s competitive advantage, we must have the workforce in place to continue to excel.

In your 2011 State of the Union Address, you pledged to educate 100,000 new Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) teachers by 2020. We wholeheartedly support this effort and agree that our country desperately needs more STEM teachers so that we can educate and encourage more students to pursue the careers of today and tomorrow.

We call on you to take the next step and set a national goal to educate 100,000 Latino engineers by 2024. This commitment should come through executive order, so that the various federal agencies with a stake in shoring up our STEM pipeline can coordinate resources, work with our local schools to share best practices, and facilitate partnerships with the public and private sectors. Through improved collaboration, we can identify programs that work and scale them up. You will also be sending a message to parents and students across the country that Latinos can be our future innovation leaders.

Latinos are the fastest growing segment of our population. They currently make up 17 percent of the population but they account for less than 8 percent of engineering degrees. The Department of Commerce predicts STEM jobs will grow faster than any other sector of our economy. Because of this growth in demand and the anticipated retirement of the Baby Boomer generation over the next several years, the only way to ensure we have the workforce we need to remain the global innovation leader is to harness the potential of the Latino community.

This potential will only be realized by closing the STEM gap that currently exists in our schools. In 2011, Latinos were only 10% of engineering enrollees in our colleges and universities. This is largely due to the fact that in a state like California, where a majority of K-12 students are Latino, only 53% of Latino second-graders were proficient in math in 2010 and Latino high school students were only 17% of the AP Calculus and Statistics test takers.

We need to change this trajectory. It will take leadership from the federal, state and local government as well as our partners in the private sector and non-profit world. This is why your leadership is so essential.

By setting a goal to graduate 100,000 Latino engineers over the next decade, we can invigorate our economy and provide a greater opportunity to grow the middle class. According to Forbes, 7 of the 10 top majors for salary potential are in the engineering field. With income inequality continuing to threaten the American Dream, it is imperative that we make every effort to provide lower income Americans with the prospect to earn an education that will allow them to thrive in a growing and changing economy.

By setting this goal, you will be positioning America for the future. We look forward to working together to encourage the fastest growing segment of our population to gain the necessary skills and knowledge to continue America’s leadership in innovation.

Sincerely,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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