If we want America to succeed in the 21st century, making sure we offer the nation's students a world-class education is more than a moral obligation, it's an economic imperative.
In the long term, our country faces a stark choice: we can invent and manufacture the clean energy technologies of tomorrow in America for export around the world, or cede global leadership by importing those technologies from China, India, Germany and elsewhere. As Americans, we never back down from a challenge -- and the Energy Department's office of Economic Impact and Diversity knows it is mission-critical to get more minorities involved in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields.
Ensuring America's competitiveness depends on making sure that Latinos - and Americans of all races - have the education and technical skills they need to advance their careers. This is why the Energy Department is focused on ways we can help encourage more Latinos to get involved in growing STEM fields. As the nation's largest minority group (with more than one in five students enrolled in America's schools), Latinos include more than 11 million students in America's public elementary and secondary schools and more than 22 percent of all pre-K -12 students.
Last year, the Energy Department provided nearly $19 million in support to the nation's Hispanic Serving Institutions in the form of research and development opportunities, scholarships, internships and training. This means more students are getting exposure to STEM fields through hands-on work at our sterling National Labs and in STEM projects at their schools.
Here are a few of the ways the Energy Department is working to increase Latino involvement in STEM fields:
It's going to take all of us -- the federal government, leaders in the public and private sector, teachers and principals, parents involved in their kids' education, and students giving their best -- to make sure Latino students across the country have the opportunity to learn the skills they need to enter these growing industries. The Office of Economic Impact and Diversity is committed to showing students that energy programs offer promising and rewarding career paths -- paths that can help change the future of this country.