As policymakers throughout the Americas seek large-scale solutions to seemingly intractable societal ills such as bigotry, poverty and economic inequality, Raquel Tamez advocates a different tack: She thinks barriers to opportunity and prosperity are best dismantled one relationship at a time.
That’s why Tamez has pushed mentoring, role modeling and networking to the forefront of her campaign to transform the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, or SHPE, into a true force for educational and economic advancement.
Tamez, the youngest child of a migrant farm worker who immigrated from Mexico in hopes of giving his family a better life, has led the organization since June 2017, and, by most measures, her approach is paying dividends.
SHPE, which was established in 1974 by six engineers who worked for the city of Los Angeles, now has more than 11,000 members in some 270 student and professional chapters across the United States. Its recent national convention in Phoenix drew a record 9,500 registrants and more than 620 employers, including 40 Fortune 100 companies.
“It wasn’t just successful; it was a game-changing event,” Tamez says.
The attached white paper, Tearing Down Walls, details what SHPE is doing to meet the nation’s growing demand for tech talent. Deloitte and the National Association of Manufacturers project that the U.S. economy will create 3.5 million additional STEM jobs by 2025 — more than 2 million of which will go unfilled because of a shortage of qualified candidates.
“I’m cautiously optimistic that the future is bright for Hispanics,” Tamez says. “Hispanics are poised to significantly bridge the need for more STEM professionals. Hispanics can be the answer, the solution, to current STEM demands and the current STEM gap.”
A second attachment highlights some of the insights that Tamez shared in a just-released edition of the higher-education podcast Innovators.
If you prefer not to download attachments, you may access the documents via these links: Tearing Down Walls and Innovators: Raquel Tamez. You also can click here to listen to the Innovators podcast featuring the self-styled “feisty Latina.”