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Strength in Numbers; Educational Alliance Announced at Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers National Conference Will Improve Prospects for Youth and U.S. Economy Too

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2007-01-13 23:00:05     
Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers

Three U.S. organizations intent on improving opportunities for Hispanic students have joined in a partnership to streamline efforts toward advancing science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education.

The Hispanic Alliance for STEM Opportunities marks collaboration between the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE), the Hispanic Engineer National Achievement Awards Conference (HENAAC) and IBM. Officials with the two nonprofit groups and IBM announced their alliance during SHPE's annual National Technical and Career Conference Jan. 10-13 in Denver.

To launch the alliance, IBM has provided a $150,000 grant to help fund a series of STEM-focused summer camps for Hispanic youth. The alliance is considering opening the first camps this June in California and Texas.

The new alliance will enhance members' shared efforts to inspire young people toward STEM careers, said Diana Gomez, president of SHPE's national board of directors.

"Through this alliance we now can work more closely together to inspire young people and get them thinking of how their interest in math and science can become a lifelong passion," Gomez said. "I know all of us with the Alliance share this excitement about these amazing fields and we want to pass it on."

Now is the best time for the alliance, said Adalio Sanchez, General Manager, Technology Collaboration Solutions, Systems and Technology Group, and IBM-SHPE Strategic Alliance Advisory Board chairperson. "The statistics have been against Hispanic youth for quite some time," Sanchez said.

"Only 64 percent of Hispanics graduate from high school, compared with 91 percent of white students and 84 percent of black students," Sanchez said. "This relationship intends to turn the tide and address how we develop the skills of the fastest growing population and increase the technology employment pipeline. Through our alliance, we will use the single vision SHPE, IBM and HENAAC have regarding how education really is the unifying factor toward shaping the next generation of Hispanic leaders."

Ray Mellado, chair of HENAAC, said the collaboration with IBM and SHPE provides a unique opportunity for Hispanic students and the United States as a whole. "By working together, our three organizations will be able to open more doors to attainable career pathways for future STEM professionals. With additional entities joining this alliance, we can significantly increase the contributions of the Hispanic community to our U.S. technical workforce," Mellado said.

Specialized in: Strength - Youth - Educational Alliance
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