NACME Supports Underrepresented Engineering Students

Connectivity 2020 strategy focuses on internships, full-time hires

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NACME, the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering, has been supporting engineering students of color since 1974, thanks to its generous corporate partners.

BE Smart recently sat down with Irving Pressley McPhail, Ed.D., NACME’s CEO and president, to talk about the organization’s work providing scholarship support to underrepresented students, and its new strategic direction.

How does NACME support underrepresented engineering students?

NACME is the largest private provider of scholarship support for underrepresented minority students pursuing bachelor’s degrees in engineering. We define “underrepresented” as African American, Latino, and American Indian/Alaska Native women and men.

Because of our corporate partners, NACME can support the production of talented minority students in engineering, and our corporate partners benefit by bringing extremely talented young people into their companies.

What has been NACME’s overall strategy?

NACME has embraced a strategic direction for the last five years that we called Connectivity 2015, which took us from 2010 to 2015. We embraced four key result areas:

  • Scholarships
  • Research and program evaluation
  • Pre-engineering
  • Engineering public policy

The contributions from our global engineering companies allowed us to support activities and accomplishments across those four areas, with the primary focus being scholarship support for our NACME scholars.

Our new strategic plan is Connectivity 2020, which embraces slight changes in direction based on our experience as well as the needs of the nation and the needs of our companies. Our new plan includes the theme College to Career.

We’re adding the career focus to more aggressively connect our scholars to our corporate partners for internships and full-time hires. So the core business of NACME today has been redefined as scholarship support and career development—internships and full-time hires. These represent the areas where NACME is pursuing direct engagement.

Is there an area of indirect engagement?

The second part of the strategy is our community partnership model, which involves our indirect engagement.

In this, NACME forges partnerships and collaborates with like-minded organizations to drive the pipeline—the pathway of preparation from K-12—as well as to influence the national discussion on U.S. competitiveness and where diversity and inclusion fits in. NACME isn’t driving the agenda but contributing to its support.

Given the resources available to NACME, the complexity of the K-12 STEM education issues, our board and management determined that NACME could be more effective as a major partner as opposed to a prime mover in the policy and K-12 space. NACME can best use its resources from corporate partners to drive the scholarship program and connect NACME scholars to internships and full-time hires at companies.

For more about NACME and its many resources, including K-12 resources, visit its website.