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ExxonMobil Creates Award to Promote Minority Engineers

TORONTO -- Exxon Mobil Corp. and the National Society of Black Engineers developed a new award to recognize university programs focused on retaining minority engineering students.

The Diversity in Engineering Impact Award, funded by a $40,000 grant from ExxonMobil, will acknowledge universities that have developed innovative and successful retention programs targeting African American, Hispanic American and American Indian students pursuing degrees in engineering. Three universities will be awarded $10,000 each in September to support their efforts and provide recognition to encourage other universities to duplicate or develop their own retention programs. The application process will begin in May.

"We are grateful to have an involved partner such as ExxonMobil, which works with us to make a difference in the number of minority engineering students in the United States," Carl B. Mack, executive director of the society, said during the society's 36th annual convention in Toronto. "This grant will allow us to reward successful university retention programs and help share best practices to increase the number of engineers of color."

The award program is one of many collaborative efforts between ExxonMobil and National Society of Black Engineers. Since the 1980s, ExxonMobil has partnered with the society to identify and recruit minority students for engineering programs and to support them as they begun their professional careers following graduation.

In addition to this program, ExxonMobil has had a longstanding commitment to recruit and retain under-represented populations in engineering and actively supports organizations including National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering, Southeastern Consortium for Minorities in Engineering and Society for Hispanic Professional Engineers.

According to an analysis presented by the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering and Commission on Professionals in Science and Technology, the retention rate for minorities in engineering programs is less than 40 percent, compared to slightly more than 60 percent for non-minorities.

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