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February 15, 2018

SUNY Ulster

Stone Ridge, NY

Math is not only a barrier to completion in community colleges; it is also a barrier to entry for selective enrollment programs across the nation specifically for minority and low socio-economic groups. Competitive college programs such as nursing and electric power technology often require a certain level numeracy and literacy before enrollment. These criteria may limit enrollment to undeserved populations.

One such example across the nation is the nuclear technology program offered at 40 community colleges across the nation. This two-year program trains students for careers as nuclear technicians in the energy, environmental management, and radioisotope industries. Combined these nuclear industries account for over 2.6M jobs and $120B toward the United States GDP. With an aging population, natural attrition, and growth, the nuclear industry will have over 65,000 high-paying nuclear career opportunities by 2030. However, despite multiple efforts over decades, African American employment in the nuclear arena is low (<7% of workforce). Root cause analysis at the college level indicates that math deficiency in African American program applicants is the leading cause. Student applicants across the country must be college algebra ready to be accepted into nuclear programs. Currently, interested African American students have not been ready for college algebra and thus are not getting selected for enrollment into nuclear programs. As a result, the industry has not seen a change in its employment profile in almost 30 years!

Redesigning Math is a workshop to discuss and share best practices to eliminate math as a barrier to program entry and successful completion.

Click HERE to download the preliminary agenda.
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