Organization Takes Action to Solve "Quiet Crisis" in America's Competitiveness with June Conference

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Leaders from industry, academia and other sectors will focus on providing portable solutions to develop the nation's talent in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) at The National GEM Consortium's annual conference this June. American competitiveness depends on instituting innovative partnerships to ensure all students, but particularly ethnic minorities, are developed as a talent source as the predominantly white, male STEM work force retires in increasing numbers. Conference goals include GEM increasing its funding, programs, and public policy initiatives to ensure future technological innovation is fueled by the United State's emerging demographic.

The National GEM Consortium announced the organization’s annual conference and 30th anniversary gala celebration June 28-30, 2006 will bring together prominent leaders who are successfully implementing innovative strategies to solve the “Quiet Crisis”, a term applied by invited keynote speaker and president of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Shirley Ann Jackson, PhD, to the critical decline in advanced engineering and science degree attainment among U.S. citizens, particularly by our nation’s growing ethnic demographic.

The main purpose of “GEM @ 30: A National Imperative” is bringing together these thought leaders to develop GEM’s advocacy position and leadership role in addressing this crisis as well as determining the human and capital resources necessary to form action-oriented alliances to advance diversity in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines and careers. This two-day conference is a much-needed gathering for not only stakeholders in the industrial, government, and academic sectors, but also individuals who recognize our nation’s continued prosperity and ability to remain a competitive source of innovation within the global economy depends upon us working together to identify and cultivate domestic technical talent from all backgrounds, particularly underrepresented ethnic groups such as Hispanic Americans, African Americans, and American Indians.

Sited on Chicago, Illinois’ Magnificent Mile at the InterContinental Chicago, the event will also pay tribute to education leader Howard G. Adams, PhD during the organization’s 30th anniversary awards gala. Adams is president and founder of H.G. Adams & Associates, Inc., a consulting company providing a full range of career, personal and professional development services to educational, governmental and industrial organizations. Prior to incorporating H.G. Adams & Associates, Inc., Dr. Adams served as Executive Director of GEM headquartered at the University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana from 1978-1995.

The black-tie awards program, themed “Storied Past, Bright Future”, is the finale of the organization’s 30th fiscal year. With an introduction by Father Theodore M. Hesburgh, CSC, president emeritus of the University of Notre Dame and a key early supporter of the organization, the Adams tribute will be the first of several awards presented on the evening of June 29 to GEM members plus current recipients and alumni of the organization’s signature graduate fellowship programs.

Evidence of the organization’s bright future is demonstrated by the October 2005 hiring of executive director Michele Lezama, an experienced senior manager and well-known advocate of diversity in STEM post-secondary education. The national nonprofit’s focus on becoming a catalyst in solving the Quiet Crisis includes developing their first-ever advisory board, as well as dramatically increasing the number of engineering and science fellowship awards made to underrepresented technical talent.

“As GEM approaches 3,000 graduates with a master’s or doctorate our role in generating leaders and role models with advanced technical degrees is a vital one,” said Ronald E. Goldsberry, PhD, GEM President. “By assembling top organizations and institutions to bring new resources to bear in solving the Quiet Crisis we are expecting this to be one of our most interactive, participatory, and results-driven conferences to date. As a forward-looking organization we must set stretch goals with current and new partners to achieve bold solutions.”

Committed conference sponsors include 3M Company, Ford Motor Company, General Motors Corporation, IBM Corporation, Intel Corporation, Motorola, Inc., and the University of Notre Dame.

The National GEM Consortium is directly addressing the critical short fall in the production of American engineering and scientific talent by providing graduate fellowships in engineering and science to highly qualified individuals from communities where human capital is virtually untapped. With a membership base of more than 140 employer, university, and U. S. government laboratory partners GEM is uniquely positioned to address our country's need for innovative technical talent. Founded in 1976 the nonprofit corporation is headquartered at the University of Notre Dame, in Notre Dame, Indiana.

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Leigh Hayden
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