The Importance of the Diversity Issue to the Competitiveness and Innovation Debate

B-338 Rayburn House Office Building
Thursday, June 28, 2007, 12:30 p.m.-2:00 p.m.

Congressional Hosts: House Diversity and Innovation Caucus


Briefing Summary

To remain competitive in a global economy, the U.S. must develop its technological literacy, talent, and expertise across all sectors of society. According to the U.S. Census, 39 percent of the population under the age of 18 is a racial or ethnic minority. That percentage is on a path to pass 50 percent by the year 2050. Yet, in 2000, only 4.4 percent of the science and engineering jobs were held by African Americans and only 3.4 percent by Hispanics. Women constitute half of the post-secondary students in the nation, but represent a little more than one quarter of our science and engineering workforce. Come hear about the new Diversity and Innovation Caucus, a bipartisan Caucus led by Representative Silvestre Reyes, which plans to generate ideas for increasing the participation of groups underrepresented in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.


  • Semahat Demir, Ph.D., Director of External Affairs, Society of Women Engineers, Moderating
  • Orlando Taylor, Ph.D., Vice Provost for Research, Dean of the Graduate School, and Professor of Communications, Howard University, and former Board Chair, Council of Graduate Schools
  • Michael Acosta, President of the Society of Mexican American Engineers and Scientists, and Director of External Relations for the College of Engineering, The University of Texas at El Paso