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Last week, Vice President Kamala Harris, White House Senior Advisor Cedric Richmond, and White House staffers who attended historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) met in celebration of the 2021 National HBCU Week. Harris is the first HBCU graduate to serve as Vice President of the United States. (Photo credit: White House).

The White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities promotes HBCU awareness with the celebration of HBCU Week in September. The theme for 2021 was “Exploring Equity” and various programs, ceremonies, and activities were held to acknowledge the countless contributions these institutions and their alumni have made.

On Friday, Harris visited Hampton University to recognize the contributions of HBCUs and minorities in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields and how their contributions impact the future success of the U.S. workforce.

“The demand for STEM workers is high throughout our nation and the world,” Harris said at Hampton University. “STEM occupations are expected to grow at twice the rate of all other occupations in the next decade. For women in the workforce, and particularly for Black women, STEM careers will help narrow the pay gap. We must ensure all people are people are represented in the fields of STEM. I’m reminded of machine learning and what that means because artificial intelligence (AI) is fueling so much of how systems are analyzing information. If artifical intelligence is at the core of any kind of machine learning, we want to make sure that in this era where AI is informing so many decisions, that the people who are teaching the machines represent the full gamut of those who will be affected by what those machines decide to do. That’s why I am here today at Hampton to talk about why the work at historically Black colleges and universities is so critically important to all people,” the vice president said.

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