Charge to the Workshop

Executive Summary

Part I: The STEM Workforce: Establishing the Need for Change

Under-Representation as a Social Justice Issue

Current Lack of Diversity and Opportunity

Part II: The STEM Pathways Workshop: Describing the Change

Broad Issues Related to the STEM Workforce

From Successful Programs to Large-Scale Change

The Contributions of

An Action Plan

Part III: Conclusion: Toward a New Vision for the Enterprise of Science


Appendix: Workshop Attendees


Part I: The STEM Workforce: Establishing the Need for Change

The majority of the children who will be born in the United States in the 21st century will belong to groups that are now under-represented in careers involving science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) (see Figure 1). Without broader participation of all parts of our society in these careers, the vitality of the STEM workforce may decline and good jobs will continue to be exported to other countries. Our economic vitality, national security, and future well-being depend on strategically broadening participation in these critical fields (Colwell, 2002; BEST, 2004; NSB, 2004a,b).

Figure 1: Racial Ethnic Composition of US Population

Issues regarding the development of the STEM workforce are complex (Pearson and Fechter, 1994; Jackson, 2003; Mervis, 2003; NSB, 2003, 2004b; Monastersky, 2004). Among these issues are the factors students take into account as they consider alternative careers, the overall health of the economy, balance between foreign and domestic workers, and the political process of allocating public funds for STEM fields and training. Given this complexity, progress in assessing adequacy and in developing the talent among under-represented groups will require contributions from a wide array of disciplines. The federal government recognizes this and subsequently established an inter-agency working group to examine its investments in programs and research on developing human resources for the STEM workforce. This includes identifying programs that have been rigorously evaluated as well as those that are promising.