June 12, 2012 | last updated June 12, 2012 11:50 am

UMass to boost minority STEM enrollment

Raytheon and other technology companies are supporting an initiative announced Monday by UMass President Robert L. Caret to boost the number of underrepresented minority students graduating with science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) degrees from the University of Massachusetts and the state's 15 community colleges, MassHighTech.com reports.

Under the ABLE 4 STEM program, which goes into effect this fall, UMass and the state's community colleges have set a goal of doubling minority students pursuing associate's and bachelor's degrees in STEM fields over the next four years.

In academic year 2011, there were 188 such minority students who earned STEM degrees throughout the UMass system, which awarded 2,159 STEM bachelor's degrees in total. In the state's 15 community colleges, 161 of the 1,322 associates degrees earned in the STEM majors were awarded to underrepresented minority students.

Dan O'Connell, president and CEO of the Massachusetts Competitive Partnership, said the initiative aligns with MACP's goal of promoting job growth.

"We are dedicated to working with business leaders to collaborate and support the efforts by UMass and the state to move this important initiative forward," he said in a statement.

MACP, with lead business partners Suffolk Construction and Raytheon, will contribute to the effectiveness of the program by providing support to ensure the successful transition of students from community colleges to UMass.

MACP will provide opportunities for hands-on learning experiences and summer internships in the areas of green science and engineering, life sciences laboratory and field placements, and sustainable solutions, according to the statement.

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