Survey Shows Support for Diversity in Colleges, Business

Survey Shows Support for Diversity in Colleges, Business

WASHINGTON — A recently released survey by the Business Higher Education Forum shows that a majority of Americans think that diversity — and many methods taken by institutions to ensure it — is important in business and higher education.
The Business Higher Education Forum, a collaboration between the American Council of Education and the National Alliance of Business, released the report last month.
According to the survey, approximately eight out of 10 people, or 81 percent, say it is important that the workplace include those of different races, cultures and backgrounds. Also, 85 percent note the importance of diversity to the economy. Nearly 90 percent of those surveyed say it is important to have students of different races, cultures and backgrounds in higher education. Ninety percent say they believe diversity plays an important role in the quality of higher education.  
“Our country needs a variety of different backgrounds and skills to compete in today’s global market. We don’t have a talented person to waste,” says Roberts T. Jones, president and CEO of the National Alliance of Business. “Developing the full potential of our labor force requires that everyone be given fair access to the best possible education.”
Dr. Stanley O. Ikenberry, president of the American Council on Education, adds that the success of the country depends on a well-educated, well-trained, diverse work force.
“The survey findings show that the American people have come to the same conclusion as business and higher education leaders and view diversity as vitally important to America’s future,” Ikenberry says.
The data resulted from an omnibus telephone survey of 1,000 adults, ages 18 and older, conducted in mid-January. The Washington-based public opinion firm of Lake Snell Perry and Associates administered the survey. The firm reports a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percent.
Rene Redwood, project consultant for Business Higher Education, says no concrete action on how this information will be used has been planned.
“The players need to get together,” Redwood says.
She says the significance of the research should provide evidence that businesses and education institutions be allowed to take action to insure diversity.
The survey shows that 77 percent of those surveyed “strongly” or “somewhat agree” that businesses and universities should be allowed to take action to diversify their work forces and campuses. Seventeen percent disagree.
“Because it is a core value, it is critical that we start early to develop programs in K-12 that provide opportunities and ensure all our children are educated to compete in the global marketplace,” Redwood says.
Other findings indicated that 95 percent of minorities and 85 percent of Whites believe diversity in higher education is important. Ninety percent of minorities and 78 percent of Whites surveyed view diversity in the workplace as important and 100 percent of minorities and 82 percent of Whites say diversity is important to the nation’s future economy.
 Copies of the report can be obtained by calling (202) 939-9365.                 



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