Tom Steyer’s $125 billion HBCU plan includes support for students while they’re in school and after they graduate.
The Democratic presidential candidate told BET during a press call on Thursday (Dec. 12) how his decade-long plan will include fortifying “connections and building legacies with diverse members of the community” through partnerships with governments, non-profit organizations and the private sector across the board.
“Part of what I’m talking about here when we talk about partnerships with governments, nonprofits and the private sector across the board is an attempt to develop those very specific relationships and pipelines so that the young people and students coming out of these schools have access to the careers that they currently don’t have access to,” Steyer told BET.
“It’s not the only part of what we’re talking about there, but it’s a very specific attempt on our part to try to make sure those relationships exist at an institutional level so that when students go to [HBCUs] they get a chance to go into the fields where they currently don’t have relationships, don’t have access and are dramatically underrepresented,” he said.
For example, Blacks make up 11% of the U.S. workforce overall but represent 9% of STEM workers, the Pew Research Center reports.
Additionally, among employed adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher, Blacks are just 7%, the Pew Research Center reports.
Other professions lacking diversity include legal, social scientists, arts and entertainment, sales, education and architects, The Atlantic reports.
Steyer’s plan, which he described during Thursday’s press call as “the boldest Historically Black Colleges and Universities support of any candidate,” also includes sustaining large investments across the HBCU system, establishing an HBCU board of regents, and doubling down on “expanding and strengthening HBCU innovation hubs with an emphasis on the STEM field, and will also include civic engagement.”