A booming U.S. engineering industry has meant extraordinary gains for foreign engineers and missed opportunities for Americans, particularly minorities. According to a recent National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering study, engineering employment opportunities have grown by nearly 20% over the past four years, but African Americans, Latinos, and Native Americans make up less than 6% of the engineering workforce. And that percentage may decrease as corporations continue to look abroad to till the jobs that would otherwise go untilled annually.
Compounding this is the fact that in 1996 minority college engineering graduates garnered only 10% of engineering bachelor’s degrees, 5% of master’s and 3% of doctorates. Foreign-born engineers made up more than 40% of U.S. graduate school enrollment, received almost half the doctorates and held more than 60% of the post-doctoral R&D positions in 1995.