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A Diverse Sector is a Strong Sector: My Brother's Keeper National Week at the Labs

Posted by Marcus Brownrigg, Center for Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships in Initiatives Research and Science
Mar 11, 2016
Local middle-school students participating in a demonstration on pollinators during the White House Day at the Lab.
32 students toured live and preserved insect collections at the United States Vegetable Laboratory in Charleston, S.C., where they learned how scientists name newly discovered species, observed varieties of sweet potatoes grown at the facility and discussed careers in STEAM with Dr. Mark W. Farnham, an ARS plant research geneticist.

Two years ago, President Obama launched My Brother’s Keeper (MBK) to address persistent disadvantages and ensure boys and young men of color have opportunities to reach their full potential.  Since the initiative’s launch, the Administration has partnered with nonprofits, businesses, towns and cities to connect young people with mentors and resources, helping to build lasting bridges of opportunity for youth across the country.

Over the next five years, approximately 57,900 jobs will become available in food, agriculture, renewable natural resources and the environment annually -- with only 35,400 students graduating with the specialized expertise to fill them. A diverse sector is a strong sector, and that’s why we’re taking strides to ensure all Americans have access to the array of opportunities across the field.
Last week, My Brother’s Keeper and the White House Council on Women and Girls teamed up with communities, universities and federal labs to host the first-ever National Week at the Labs,  a week-long series of mentorship opportunities and interactive workshops in science, technology, engineering, agriculture, math (STEAM) for students across the country.

In support of this effort, USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) opened labs to youth in Charleston, S.C., Stillwater, Okla. and Ithaca, N.Y., joining more than 50 federal labs in over 20 states participating in the MBK Community Challenge.

Students from Langston University, an 1890 Land-Grant University observing a demonstration on hydraulic engineering in Stillwater, Okla.
50 students from Langston University, an 1890 Land-Grant University, toured and participated in interactive demonstrations at the Wheat, Peanut and Other Field Crops Research Unit and Hydraulic Engineering Research Unit in Stillwater, Okla.