Engineering PLUS Alliance

The Engineering PLUS Alliance, is one of 17 National Science Foundation (NSF) INCLUDES Alliances of higher education institutions and the only Alliance focused on engineering. NSF INCLUDES is a nationwide initiative designed to build U.S. leadership in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) by increasing the participation of individuals from groups that have been historically underrepresented in STEM. The Engineering PLUS Alliance posits that networked communities are needed to build an inclusive infrastructure that will drive the transformative, systemic and sustainable change needed to increase the annual number of BIPOC and women earning undergraduate/graduate degrees in engineering to 100,000/30,000 by 2026.

The Engineering Diversity Grand Challenge

Despite significant investments by government agencies, universities, foundations and industries that rely on the skills and talents of engineers, Black, Indigenous and People Of Color (BIPOC) and women are underrepresented in the engineering workforce.

Why This Matters

Engineering depends on team collaboration and research shows that diverse groups are typically more effective than homogeneous teams when complex problem solving is a critical goal. The U.S. must educate a diverse engineering workforce to address the complex technological challenges faced by our society. Greater diversity in the STEM workforce will result in a new generation of engineering talent and leadership to secure our nation’s future and long-term competitiveness.

The Pipeline/The Funnel (Source: IPEDS, 2021)

While there has been progress in increasing the number and percent of women and BIPOC graduates since 2011, engineering is still a discipline graduating predominantly male students. BIPOC students historically drop off the engineering pipeline at key transition points (see graph below) – they receive only 6% of engineering PhDs. Women are also underrepresented among graduate degree recipients.

NSF INCLUDES Alliance Engineering PLUS (Partnerships Launching Underrepresented Students). This work is supported by the National Science Foundation under award HRD-2119930. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.