Despite a growth in the number of Hispanics in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), recent studies show Latinos are still underrepresented in these critical professions. To help reverse this situation, the U.S. Army announced today its continued support of Great Minds in STEM (GMiS). GMiS is a leader in promoting STEM careers especially in underserved communities. As part of its efforts, the Army will partner with GMiS at the annual HENAAC conference, Oct. 6-8 in Orlando, Fla., which provides Hispanic youth with information and resources related to education and careers in STEM.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that employment in STEM occupations will grow by more than 21 percent by 2018, more than double the growth of other occupations. Because Latinos are the fastest growing demographic group, projected to be 25 percent of the U.S. population by 2025, it is critical that Hispanic students are prepared to contribute to the growing demand for a highly skilled STEM workforce.
Organizations such as the Army and Great Minds in STEM provide students with information and resources that support academic achievement and career training. The Army, for example, offers more than $270 million in merit-based ROTC scholarships for youth to complete their college education. Further, the U.S. Military Academy at West Point – rated one of the nation’s top undergraduate engineering programs – provides free tuition to all cadets, who then are commissioned as second lieutenants in the Army upon graduation.
STEM-related career opportunities in the Army include civil, chemical and mechanical engineering careers with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) or working with the Army’s Research, Development and Engineering Command (RDECOM) to create break-through innovations for what soldiers wear, fire, fly or drive. Both USACE and RDECOM also offer civilian career opportunities.
At the GMiS annual HENAAC convention, the Army will provide information about these programs to approximately 3,000 students, educators and business leaders through various activities including:
- Hosting an interactive exhibit to demonstrate the latest technologies developed by Army engineers.
- Sponsoring a team of college students who will participate in the HENAAC College Bowl, a two-and-half day academic competition featuring 30 teams of university students from around the U.S. and Puerto Rico.
- Conducting workshops and participating in round-table discussions with industry leaders to discuss best practices for inspiring and attracting more Hispanic students to pursue STEM education and careers.
- Addressing conference attendees at the HENAAC Awards Gala which recognizes young and established STEM professionals for their contributions in the STEM fields.