If President Obama would like to see more Black Americans employed in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics, he’ll have to find some policy that lessens the incentives for Black Americans to invest in lifestyle industries versus the STEM industries that high risk capital is flowing to.
Mike Green made the point a couple of years ago in a piece for The Huffington Post that while Black Americans are not strangers to entrepreneurship and innovation, their entrepreneurial investments are over-indexed in the lifestyle industry as opposed to the Asian community which has invested in a number of Silicon Valley companies and see a larger number of members in their communities getting degrees in STEM.
Atlanta, described as a Black mecca by those who don’t live here, is indicative overall of an aversion to STEM and a preference for lifestyle industry. In the West End section of the city one has no excuse for not finding a barber. In a half-mile stretch down Ralph Abernathy one can find at least twenty barber and salons. I know. I’ve counted.
On the other hand, I’ve counted one engineering firm, and the windows look more shuttered than open. I’ve received no response yet from Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed to an inquiry I made about the city’s efforts to retain engineering students here in the city and encourage them to set up their own shops.
The numbers appear to show Atlanta’s dearth or aversion to engineers (which would be shame given that Georgia Tech pumps out engineers every year). The Georgia Department of Labor recently reported that the number of people in the Atlanta MSA employed in the arts, entertainment, and recreation areas increased by 6.5%, while the number employed in architectural and engineering services did not change at all.
Meanwhile, the Real Housewives of Atlanta enjoys a sixth season of introducing the nation to Atlanta’s penchant for the high-life …
Go figure …