Daily CSR
Daily CSR

Daily CSR
Daily news about corporate social responsibility, ethics and sustainability

Transforming Communities and Building a Skilled Workforce in STEM: Bayer


Unlocking the power of diversity and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) took center stage during the inspiring National Black History Month celebration in February. In today's job market, where expertise in STEM is in high demand, society simply cannot afford to disregard the immense talent found among graduates from HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities).
Although HBCUs represent a mere 3 percent of all higher-education institutions in the United States, their impact speaks volumes: they contribute to 25 percent of African American graduates in STEM fields. This achievement holds great significance as, according to the Pew Research Center, African Americans are still underrepresented among STEM graduates compared to their proportion in the adult population. It's clear that embracing diversity is not just a buzzword; it's an essential quality that every prospective employer should value in candidates.
“The old ways of doing things won’t be enough to thrive in today’s rapidly evolving and technical workplace,” said Al Mitchell, President of Bayer Fund. “Having graduates from diverse backgrounds bring their perspectives and new ideas to the table is what drives innovation, and Bayer Fund is pleased to play a role in helping to cultivate that diversity.”
Bayer Fund STEM Scholarship Program, a joint venture between Bayer Fund and UNCF (United Negro College Fund) aims to cultivate brilliant minds in STEM. Launched in 2021, this program provides invaluable support to deserving students pursuing STEM majors at HBCUs. By offering this opportunity, we empower talented students of color, who have faced barriers, to fulfill their dreams of completing college and embarking on successful careers in STEM.
In 2022, we proudly awarded 10 Bayer Fund STEM Scholarships to exceptional students from HBCUs. Among them is Edward Cotton V, a dedicated junior biology major at Tuskegee University. Edward envisions a future as a cardiologist and is determined to make a difference in healthcare. As an ambassador of the Bayer Fund Scholarship, he exemplifies our shared commitment to excellence in education and serving the community.
However, it's disheartening to acknowledge that, for every student like Edward who receives a scholarship, UNCF has to regretfully turn away nine other deserving applicants who are equally poised for success but lack the necessary support.
“Funding continues to be an issue,” said Ngozi Emenyeonu, UNCF Area Development Director. “The Bayer Fund grant has enabled UNCF to expand its STEM footprint for underserved students, which alleviates financial obstacles for the recipients and is also a direct benefit to future/potential employers who then have immediate access to minority talent in the STEM disciplines.”
Investing in the education of underserved students not only transforms their lives but also fuels the economies of the communities and regions they return to after graduation. Why? Because college graduates earn higher incomes, creating a positive ripple effect for everyone involved.
According to a 2021 study by the UNCF Fredrick Patterson Research Institute, HBCUs act as powerful catalysts for social mobility. It's remarkable that over twice as many HBCU students come from low-income backgrounds compared to the national average of 4-year institutions. In fact, this number is more than five times higher compared to prestigious Ivy Plus institutions. Additionally, HBCUs excel in propelling students into the middle class or higher, surpassing both the national average of 4-year institutions and Ivy Plus institutions by significant margins.
The benefits of supporting underserved students are undeniable for everyone involved. It's a win-win scenario for the students themselves, their communities, and prospective employers. Al expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to assist students in accessing educational opportunities, knowing that they will go on to make a lasting impact on lives and communities through STEM innovations.
By fostering diverse talent and nurturing proficient minds in STEM, we not only benefit individuals and our planet but also secure a superior workforce equipped to tackle the challenges of today and shape a better tomorrow.