University, Corporate Leaders Urge United States to Focus on Diversity

University, Corporate Leaders Urge United States to Focus on Diversity

WASHINGTON
A coalition of top corporate CEOs and university presidents came together earlier this month to strongly assert that the nation faces a social and economic crisis unless America succeeds in promoting and taking advantage of racial and ethnic diversity.  
In a report released by the Business-Higher Education Forum (BHEF), chief executive officers of leading corporations and presidents of prominent universities noted while the nation’s minority population is steadily increasing, members of most racial and ethnic groups are not making sufficient educational strides. As a result, the nation is headed for a crisis of work-force skills and knowledge.
The report, “Investing in People: Developing All of America’s Talent on Campus and in the Workplace,” demonstrates that “a large number of the people who will be available to work (in the future) will be minorities — who currently lag behind Whites in their training and educational credentials.”  It warns that, without the required investments in improving education for all Americans, tomorrow’s workers will not be ready to meet the challenges of a knowledge-intensive economy.
“Diversity is an invaluable competitive asset that America cannot afford to ignore,” says Stephen G. Butler, chairman and chief executive officer of KPMG LLP and co-chairman of the BHEF Diversity Initiative. “Demographic trends compel business and higher education to make a conscious investment in the development of the talent and productivity of all citizens.” The best investment for the nation’s future is to promote and expand diversity efforts and to ensure quality education for all students, the report states.
“Children who do not succeed in elementary and secondary education cannot go on to college. Without a college degree, an individual will not be prepared for the majority of the jobs that will be available in the future,” says Dr. William E. Kirwan, president of Ohio State University and the other co-chairman of the BHEF Diversity Initiative. “America’s educational system is the pipeline from which the diverse pool of capable citizens and workers for the 21st century will flow.”
The report calls on business and institutional leaders, policy-makers, and the general public to become actively involved in promoting and expanding diversity efforts.  It outlines several important steps that can be taken to foster diversity and provide equal opportunity and quality education to all Americans.  
— From news reports



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