ASCE Signs Historic MOU with the National Society of Black Engineers

February 27, 2015
ASCE Executive Director, Thomas W. Smith III (left), and President, Robert D. Stevens (center left) sign a Memorandum of Understanding with NSBE President, Sossena Wood and Executive Director Karl Reed.

ASCE Executive Director Thomas W. Smith III (left), and President Robert D. Stevens (center left) sign a Memorandum of Understanding with NSBE National Chairperson Sossena Wood and Executive Director Karl Reed. Photo Credit: Constance Thompson

As part of its commitment to developing and implementing a more comprehensive, integrated, and strategic focus on diversity and inclusion in the workplace and within the civil engineering profession, ASCE signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on February 24 with the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) to “collaboratively provide the leadership needed to inspire, attract, develop, and retain our current and next generation of black engineering leaders.”

The MOU specifically outlines the collaborative and accountable actions ASCE and NSBE are obliged to undertake to address diversity and inclusion in the U.S. engineering workforce. It also establishes a formal relationship between NSBE and ASCE as strategic partners, and each organization will recognize the other as such in appropriate publications and products.

“This MOU expands upon what was in our previous agreement,” says ASCE President Robert D. Stevens, Ph.D., P.E., F.ASCE, who signed the MOU along with ASCE Executive Director Thomas W. Smith III, ENV SP, CAE, M.ASCE, during a ceremony at the National Academy of Sciences, in Washington D.C. “Both organizations agreed to offer membership reciprocity benefits[,] which will our encourage membership in both organizations.

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“I believe this MOU will do even more to help both ASCE and NSBE enhance diversity and inclusion in our engineering profession,” says ASCE President Robert D. Stevens. Photo Credit: Constance Thompson

“It was such an honor for me to be part of this MOU signing on behalf of ASCE and to know that our cooperation with NSBE has been successful and will now offer members of both engineering organizations even greater opportunity and benefits. I believe this MOU will do even more to help both ASCE and NSBE enhance diversity and inclusion in our engineering profession.”

“I am extremely proud of how far the National Society of Black Engineers has come in its first 40 years of operation,” added NSBE National Chairperson Sossena Wood, who signed the MOU on behalf of NSBE along with Executive Director Karl Reed, Ph.D. “This memorandum of understanding with the American Society of Civil Engineers is another major step forward for NSBE. I look forward to a long-term relationship between our two societies in supporting our members, building our organizations, growing the number of underrepresented engineers, and accomplishing much for the U.S. engineering profession.”

With this MOU, ASCE and NSBE pledge to partner to advance the mutual goals of both organizations through collaborative efforts on membership; they also plan to create relevant continuing education and professional development webinars and seminars, develop reciprocal Chapter, Section, and Branch engagement, and collaborate on networking, mentoring, and public outreach activities.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2013 African Americans represented 5.5% of the U.S. engineering workforce and 5.4% of the civil engineering workforce.

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