Report on Reports

18. Ensuring a Strong U.S.... 2000 - National Science & Technology Council

NATIONAL SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY COUNCIL

Ensuring a Strong U.S. …2000

 


We need to actively reach out to our communities and let them know that we are here. We need to advertise and promote science as a critical commodity in our society and that we need people to practice it as a craft. We may do such simple things as volunteer in local K-12 schools, host teacher workshops, and present summer science camps for students. We can also provide expertise to our community and be a valuable resource for demonstrating how cutting edge scientific technology is helping to change the world. We must network to build scientific communities with broad representation and energetic participants. We want our scientific role models to portray a positive attitude toward science and for their excitement to be contagious. Indeed, the future of science lies in the hands of these leaders who are committed to finding progressive solutions to problems and who can lead with a strong, positive presence.

–PKAL F21 Statement, 2002.

BACKGROUND

Ensuring a Strong U.S. Scientific, Technical, and Engineering Workforce in the 21st Century is the 2000 report of a multi- agency working group developed in 1998 under the auspices of the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) Committee on Science. The task of this interagency working group was to assess the ST&E workforce in light of demographic and socioeconomic changes and to examine agency programs designed to increase the participation of women, minorities and persons with disabilities in the ST&E workforce. A major workshop in 1998, held in conjunction with the National Science Foundation, helped form the basis for the final report. The working group agreed that ST&E workers are essential contributors to both the private and public sectors and that it is prudent to examine, to the extent possible, what actions will ensure that the nation has an adequate ST&E workforce in the 21st century. Historically, non-Hispanic white males have made up a large fraction of US scientists and engineers. However, it is projected that this portion of the US population will decrease significantly this century. Hispanic and African-American population groups form a much smaller part of the ST&E workforce, but their populations are expected to increase markedly in the next 50 years. This implies that the ST&E fraction of the total workforce may decline if the relative participation rates of these different groups remain at their present values. If a strong ST&E workforce is to be ensured, it is imperative that members of all groups participate at increasing rates.