This piece was originally published at GenFKD.
The Hillary Clinton STEM plan holds that the United States will be more competitive if we increase diversity within the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering and math.
The practical thing to do
Clinton’s tech agenda proposal emphasizes that diversifying the field isn’t simply a moral goal; it’s actually good for business and the country. She states:
“This isn’t only the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do: diversifying the tech workforce can generate an additional $500 billion in new value for the technology industry, boosting GDP by up to 1.6%.”
That figure comes from an Intel report, which explains that the tech sector raises seven percent of the country’s gross domestic product. Infusing the field with more talent from under-represented demographics would increase productivity, and therefore revenue.
“White and Asian dudes comprise the majority of the STEM field workforce.”
White and Asian dudes comprise the majority of the STEM field workforce. Census data shows that, while 11 percent of the workforce is black, the STEM workforce is only six percent black; Hispanics accounts for 15 percent of the overall workforce, but seven percent of STEM workers.
Fewer than 30 percent of computer workers are women; and women only constitute 13 percent of engineers. The Census Bureau reported that these types of jobs account for more than 80 percent of all STEM occupations.
Toward racial and gender parity
Clinton wants to establish a $25 billion fund to support Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) as well as Minority Serving Institutions. She also has a plan to invest $20 billion in programs that support youth education and employment pathways for young people in disadvantaged communities.
Examples of programs that Clinton wants to support include linked learning, which provides high school students with specialized and hands-on experience in particular fields and helps them understand what job opportunities exist, as well as P-Techs, which are high schools created in partnership with tech companies that prepare low-income students for entry-level STEM jobs.
Clinton also wants to make sure that more small businesses and start-ups run by women and minorities have access to the money they need to get off the ground. Her proposal site notes that only seven percent of venture capital investment goes to businesses run by women, and less than one percent to those run by black women, data provided by the U.S. Small Business Association.
Clinton thinks a big part of the funding issue is that a lot of it is super concentrated in only a few states. She wants to increase access to capital in underserved areas by getting the federal government involved in expanding tax credits and making more loans available to start-ups and small businesses, with an emphasis on those founded by minorities and women.
Bring‘em across the border
Along with seeking to expand access to the STEM field for American women and minorities, Clinton wants to bring in people from other countries to contribute their skills and start businesses in the United States.
She thinks the current immigration policy that sends many foreign students who graduate from U.S. colleges back to their home countries is pretty dumb. So, she wants to give foreigners that graduate with a STEM-related master’s or PhD degree a green card along with their diploma.
Clinton also thinks we need to make the country more attractive to people abroad who might want to start a business here and hire American workers. In that vein, she’d make it easier for such individuals to obtain visas. If they hire a certain number of Americans and perform well, that’s their ticket to a green card.
As more and more jobs become available in STEM fields, Clinton wants to make sure we’ve got people qualified to work for them – and according to her, that means improving access to education, training, and mentoring of women and minorities, as well as capitalizing on the talent of foreigners who may want to contribute here.
GenFKD is equipping millennials with the skills and education necessary to create and lead the “new economy.” To learn more, head over to GenFKD.org.
Founded in 2013 as a financial literacy organization, GenFKD is growing into an organization that’s revolutionizing American higher education. Through skills-based training and student-first reforms, GenFKD is advancing a system of “new education” focused on improving post-graduate outcomes in areas of gainful employment, financial preparedness and entrepreneurial readiness.