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INCREASING MINORITIES IN ENGINEERING FOCUS OF MEETING OF FORTUNE 250 CORPORATIONS AND HISTORICALLY BLACK COLLEGES

 ABBOTT PARK, Ill., July 28 -- Leaders from major U.S. companies and engineering deans from nine predominantly black colleges will meet Aug. 5-6 to further cultivate corporate-academic alliances that encourage participation of minorities in engineering. The conference, sponsored by Abbott Laboratories, will be held at the Hyatt Hotel in Deerfield, Ill., north of Chicago.
 At this second national conference, engineering and human resources executives of Fortune 250 companies and members of the Council of Engineering Deans of the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) will work together to develop programs that will help minorities pursue and succeed in engineering careers.
 Minorities are underrepresented in the engineering profession -- a field traditionally dominated by white males. Currently, less than 4 percent of professional engineers in the United States are African- Americans and less than 3 percent are Hispanics, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In the future, changing demographics in the American work force are expected to require more women and minorities who have the education, technical background, and work experience to fill engineering positions.
 At the first conference a year ago, the HBCU engineering deans and representatives of 55 of the largest U.S. corporations launched a number of efforts, including partnerships with the HBCUs, which graduate nearly 30 percent of minority engineers each year. Participants agreed that efforts to reach future engineers must start before students enter college and continue through the students' college years and critical first years on the job.
 Corporate-academic initiatives that were discussed included exchange programs between corporate engineers and faculty, field studies and internships for students, research collaboration, corporate advisers to assist in matching college curricula to emerging technologies, and equipment donations and financial grants to update laboratory facilities.
 Accomplishments since the 1992 conference will be reported and plans to build on the corporate-academic partnerships will be developed at the upcoming meeting.
 "Our next steps are to build on the successful partnerships that have been developed and to look for new programs to bring minorities into the engineering profession," said Marlow Hicks, manager of device operations in Abbott's Diagnostics Division and one of the meeting's organizers. "The relationships not only benefit the corporations and universities, but also provide an enriching and encouraging experience for minority engineering students."
 The nine schools represented at the meeting include Florida A&M/Florida State University, Tallahassee, Fla.; Hampton University, Hampton, Va.; Howard University, Washington; Morgan State University, Baltimore, Md.; North Carolina A&T State University, Greensboro, N.C.; Prairie View A&M University, Prairie View, Texas; Southern University, Baton Rouge, La.; Tennessee State University, Nashville, Tenn.; and Tuskegee University, Tuskegee, Ala.
 Abbott Laboratories, with headquarters in north suburban Chicago, is a worldwide manufacturer of health-care products employing 49,000 people. In 1992, the company's sales were $7.9 billion.
 -0- 7/28/93
 /CONTACT: Mary Quinn Boyd, 708-937-8944, or Mimi Welty, 708-937-8521, both of Abbott Laboratories/


CO: Abbott Laboratories ST: Illinois IN: SU:

MP -- NY096 -- 6845 07/28/93 15:14 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jul 28, 1993
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