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NACME Grant To Support Minority Education in Engineering

The National Action Council for Minority Engineers (NACME), a non-profit that encourages pursuit of engineering careers among minorities underrepresented in the field, has received a $520,000 grant from the ExxonMobil Foundation to support its programs, including scholarships and a strategic pre-professional education effort.

Founded in 1974, NACME's goal is to increase the overall numbers of African-American, Latino, and Native American engineers and engineering students. A recent study by the organization concluded that less than 12 percent of bachelor's degrees in engineering go to members of these minority groups, and less than a third of all students in these groups graduate high school with the STEM skills required to pursue engineering careers.

"The continued and generous partnership with ExxonMobil is vital to the success of our Academies of Engineering efforts and will help enhance learning and ensure college readiness for thousands of talented underrepresented minority students," said Irving Pressley McPhail, NACME president and CEO.

Of the grant money, $270,000 will go toward scholarships and organization support, and $250,000 will support the NACME Pre-Engineering Program and Academies of Engineering (AOE) strategy. Launched in 2008 in partnership with the National Academy Foundation and Project Lead The Way, AOE began establishing new high schools specifically aimed at focusing on preparing students for postsecondary study and careers in engineering and related STEM fields. Today, with pilot sites established at 32 high schools in 12 states, the continuing goals of the AOE are to encourage more students, especially women and minorities, to pursue education in engineering and related fields, and to "prepare high school graduates to enter postsecondary engineering and engineering technology programs fully competent in required mathematics, science, and technical subjects."

Through its programs and the financial support of organizations like the ExxonMobil Foundation, NACME said its programs and scholarships will benefit more than 18,000 United States middle and high school students through 2012.

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Scott Aronowitz is a freelance writer based in Las Vegas. He has covered the technology, advertising, and entertainment sectors for seven years. He can be reached here.