A shocking imbalance persists. 29.5 percent of four-year, college students are Latino and African American, 16.5 and 13.0 percent respectively yet, they remain underrepresented in study abroad, putting them at what appears to be a disadvantage in a global marketplace. The recent marginal gains in minority participation have not been enough to counterbalance the overall under representation. In addition, recent graduates of color have twice the level of unemployment over their White counterparts, according to the Economic Policy Institute (www.epi.org) who published: Graduate Employment Gap: Students of Color Losing Ground (2010) by Dr. Algernon Austin. Although they represent 30 percent of the total enrollment, African and Latino Americans collectively were only 11.7 percent of the participants in study abroad during 2010-11. Whites represent 62 percent of college enrollment, but nearly 78 percent of those who studied abroad during the same period. IERCEF and members of the Study Abroad/Global Engagement Partnership see these students of color graduating in a weak position for entering a competitive global workforce and are determined to do something about it. “About 12 million students attend four-year, colleges and nearly 4 million are Black and Hispanic, if they have an unemployment rate twice that of Whites it seems to be a no brainer that they need all the ‘edges’ they can get to compete in the marketplace”
IERCEF prides itself as being the only organization that has been trumpeting this issue and building consensus within this highered community for greater participation in international programs because of its benefits. They, with lead institution Livingstone College in Salisbury NC, established the Study Abroad/Global Engagement Partnership for that state’s 11 Historically Black Colleges and Universities representing over 42,000 students.
“The new site is emblematic of our current position and heading. We wanted a platform to showcase our partners in developing new program content they are the best at what they do” says Steven Jones, President and CEO of IERCEF. The recent partnership last September with IES Abroad will produce a new 2014 sports medicine program in Jamaica. “We needed to tell everyone why it (study abroad) and our partners are important. These are to be scalable programs; reaching tens of thousands. This is just the beginning”, he added.
About IERC Education Foundation (IERCEF):
The International Educational Resource Center Education Foundation (IERCEF) is a public, nonprofit founded in 2009 representing the study abroad program interests of the Study Abroad/Global Engagement Partnership which started with 11 Historically Black Colleges and Universities in North Carolina. IERCEF’s mission is to diversify, among those underrepresented students attending 1,254 Minority-Serving Institutions across America, study abroad by incorporating with the cultural, innovative and tangible workforce valued, experiences.