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If you missed the BEYA Conference in Washington D.C. this year, then keep it locked on Black Engineer. Over the next few weeks, we aim to bring you some of the most memorable moments from BEYA’s 34th annual conference for students, professionals, executives, and leaders in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).

First launched in 1987, the BEYA STEM Conference in February is co-hosted by the Council of Engineering Deans at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Lockheed Martin Corporation, and US Black Engineer magazine, which is published by Career Communications Group (CCG). The academic-industry partnership represents the deepening of relationships across the scientific and technical enterprises to address the challenges of underrepresentation in STEM careers.

“I was not there thirty-four years ago when BEYA was founded, but my sense is the founders envisioned the creation of an eco-system that would bring together a powerful triad of government, academia, and industry leaders with the explicit purpose of increasing awareness of creating pathways to opportunity,” the 2020 Black Engineer of the Year said in his acceptance speech. “The reality is if BEYA didn’t exist, given the international race for STEM talent around the world, I believe somebody would have to create it.”

The BEYA Conference offers students and professionals information on the demands, education, training, and experience, as well as skills and requirements for jobs in the STEM workforce.

During the conference, BEYA recognized major donors of its campaign to support the Becoming An Engineer project.

“Because you know you’re never too young to discover, you created your newest publication Becoming An Engineer, a practical and creative guide to planning a career in engineering,” said Dr. Ken Washington,  the chief technology officer of Ford Motor Company. Speaking at the BEYA Gala held on Saturday, February 15 in the nation’s capital, Washington applauded BEYA for what he called the “circle of STEM life and legacy” the conference has created over 34 years.

“This inspiring career guide introduces young readers to the exciting world of engineering with everything they need to know to guide them to start their dreams to an engineering future. From industry descriptions to educational paths, to salaries and more. It belongs in the hands of every school-age boy and girl and can be customized to reach any targeted audience,” Washington said.

The BEYA gala drew more than 1,000 people and was the flagship forum for the presentation of various awards including the most promising engineer and the Black Engineer of the Year Award.

Washington, a BEYA winner himself, currently leads Ford’s worldwide research organization and oversees the development and implementation of the company’s technology strategy and plans. Read excerpts from his comments below:

For 34 years, BEYA has been our connection and voice of pride. What began as a magazine that first shined the light on STEM contributions by people of color has grown into a global movement of STEM leaders recognized the world over. You helped us tell our stories and created a strong and irrefutable of our collective accomplishment that cannot be denied. As you connected the dots among those who looked like us, you connected us with one another. You built strong lasting partnerships with corporate America, academia, government, and the military; helping to find, develop and retain top minorities with essential STEM skills.

As a result of your Foundation for Educational Development Inc., that reaches an extensive network of professionals, programs like the General Motors Girls in Technology Pre-College Initiative and the Ford Boys in Technology BEYA Pre-College Program are underway. Lockheed Martin Corporation is underwriting this year’s K-12 program. Thanks to BEYA’s Stars and Stripe’s ongoing mission, year-round mentoring programs, and aviation camps reach still more young people. And because you know you’re never too young to discover, you created your newest publication Becoming An Engineer, a practical and creative guide to planning a career in engineering. This inspiring career guide introduces young readers to the exciting world of engineering with everything they need to know to guide them to start their dreams to an engineering future. From industry descriptions to educational paths, to salaries and more. It belongs in the hands of every school-age boy and girl and can be customized to reach any targeted audience.

The importance of inspiring the next generation has never been more important. In a world where technology is transforming so many parts of our lives so quickly. And the pace of technological change will only continue to speed up. This is why Ford Motor Company is not waiting for change to happen. But instead, we’re leading a number of disruptors such as autonomous vehicles and new mobility solutions that will usher in a new era of transportation. To create this future, we are counting on a diverse and talented workforce of the type that BEYA’s efforts are helping us to secure.

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