Opportunities for Everyone in an America Built to Last

Today, I had the opportunity to visit one of our nation’s great institutions of higher learning – Morgan State University in Baltimore. This Historically Black College has been a leader in creating a whole new generation of scientists, engineers and technology innovators. These leaders will be essential to our efforts to reinvigorate our high tech workforce with jobs for tomorrow, jobs that last and make long-term contributions to our economy and our capabilities.

One of the major goals of NASA and the Obama Administration, as the President emphasized in his State of the Union speech last night, is the engagement of more Americans from all backgrounds in the study of science, technology, engineering and math – or the STEM disciplines.

The President has been clear that we need to do more to create jobs and help economic growth. And under his leadership, the economy is growing again. The economy has added a total of 3.2 million private sector jobs over the last 22 months.

But, it is not enough to create new jobs – we must make sure our students and workers get the education and training they need so that we have a workforce ready to take on the jobs of today and tomorrow. ,

And That’s exactly what they’re doing at Morgan State. I had the chance to see demonstrations of the university’s cutting-edge research in aeronautics, space science and earth science projects that are the result of its partnership with NASA.

The university is a national leader in the production of African American scientists and engineers and turns out more of them than any other college or university in the State of Maryland.

In a typical year, Morgan graduates more than two-thirds of the state’s African-American civil engineers; 60 percent of its African-American electrical engineers; 80 percent of its African-American telecommunications specialists; more than one-third of its African-American mathematicians; and all of Maryland’s African-American industrial engineers and physicists.

That is a record of which to be proud of and it is one of the reasons NASA chose Morgan as a major research partner.

The story of Morgan…the story of Historically Black Colleges and Universities in America … is the story of overcoming overwhelming odds to give African American students the opportunity to reach their full potential.

President Obama envisions an America that works for everyone, where everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share and everyone plays by the same rules. He described it last night as an America Built to Last.

Morgan State and its students will surely be among the engineers and architects of that dream.

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden is shown a demonstration of the Air Traffic Management System by Morgan State University student Renee Etoty in the University’s Engineering Visualization Research Laboratory on Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2012, in Baltimore. Bolden visited Morgan State to help highlight the importance of science, engineering and mathematics in creating and sustaining the American economy. Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls)