Terri Hudkins Headquarters, Washington, DC (Phone: 202/ 358-1977) RELEASE: 00-106

July 13, 2000

NASA SUPPORTS HIGH-TECH WORKFORCE REFLECTING DIVERSITY OF AMERICA The Commission for the Advancement of Women and Minorities in Science, Engineering, and Technology Development (CAWMSET) today announced that the shortage of skilled workers in hightech jobs will lead to an economic crisis unless more underrepresented individuals pursue education and careers in science, engineering and technology. The Commission will release its report on July 28, and today submitted its recommendations to the House Science Committee during a hearing on the issues. Astronaut Eileen Collins testified on behalf of NASA, via video teleconference from Houston, and said, "The degrees I obtained in mathematics and science helped me to achieve my goal of becoming an astronaut. This has allowed me to see first-hand the importance of education in helping to achieve one's goals." "NASA also understands that we have to do our part to inspire and encourage every segment of our population, from every walk of life, and every color and creed, to reach out and prepare for the opportunities for the 21st century, "Collins added. "NASA recognizes that the future leaders of America, even if not astronauts, scientists, or engineers, must have a fundamental understanding of science, mathematics, and technology." Collins highlighted and partnerships between industry, and non-profit and minorities in NASA's several of NASA's education programs the public, private sector, education, groups to help fully incorporate women research and technology arenas.

On April 29, 1999, NASA Administrator Daniel S. Goldin, testified before the House Science Committee and stated, "Education is the single most important issue our generation faces today that will influence our Nation's course for the future. As I see it, we are rapidly approaching the day when the primary discriminator between the "haves" and the "havenots" will be between those who understand technology and those who do not." "I believe it is imperative for the future of our Nation, and for NASA, to continue our push to encourage women, minorities and persons with disabilities to pursue careers in math, science, engineering and technology, " he continued. For additional information: ftp://ftp.hq.nasa.gov/pub/pao/Goldin/1999/April28oral.html

http://www.nasa.gov/women/welcome.html The Commission on the Advancement of Women and Minorities in Science, Engineering, and Technology Development was established by Congress October 14, 1998 to research and recommend ways to improve the recruitment, retention, and representation of women, minorities, and persons with disabilities in science, engineering and technology education and employment. Congresswoman Constance Morella, Chairwoman of the House Subcommittee on Technology, authored the legislation establishing the Commission, which has coordinated its study and development of the Report through the National Science Foundation. The Commission is also supported by an Interagency Steering Committee comprised of senior officials at the federal agencies whose missions encompass human resources in science, engineering, and technology. Dr. Kathie Olsen, NASA Chief Scientists, represents NASA on the Committee. For information about CAWMSET: http://www.nsf.gov/od/cawmset -endAdditional quotes, if needed; "Our industry recognizes this challenge, and we plan to change this situation." The NASA Strategic Plan states "We involve the educational community in our endeavors to inspire America's students, create learning opportunities and enlighten inquisitive minds." "We achieve this through our comprehensive education program, a national program guided by the educational agenda of each of our 50 states, DC, and Puerto Rico. In addition to directly funded education programs, we are beginning to embed education into everything we do. We involve students and teachers directly in real science and technology. We connect electronically with schools giving hundreds of thousands of students a direct link to NASA and its activities. The NASA budget has declined continuously over the past six years. Yet, we have managed to increase the budget level for our educational efforts," Goldin concluded. In a recent message regarding the accomplishments of women at NASA, Administrator Goldin said, "I am proud of the progress women have made at NASA. We support the goal to significantly increase the number of women graduating in engineering, physical science and computer science. We will "cast the net wider" in our ability to recruit and retain women in science, engineering and technical fields."