Sen. Kamala Harris, a Howard University alumna, announced Friday that if elected president next year, she would invest more than $70 billion in science, technology, engineering, and math education at historically black colleges and universities and in Black entrepreneurship.
“By taking these challenges on, we don’t just move Black America forward, we move all of America forward,” she said on Twitter.
Her plan dedicates $60 billion to a higher education proposal that would earmark $10 billion for an infrastructure grant program, $50 billion for scholarships, fellowships and research and $12 billion for capital grant and technical support for minority small businesses.
Harris is one of some two dozen Democrats seeking the Democratic nomination to challenge President Donald Trump in the November 2020 election.
She announced her plan during a National Urban League conference in Indianapolis.
“We’re going from the doors to many of our country’s prestigious colleges and professions being closed to our community to new investments that educate the next generation of black leaders,” Harris said.
She said the funding was necessary to help improve the conditions of outdated labs on campuses across the country and to prompt increases in the number of Black students earning college degrees in fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).
The US Department of Education found that in 2016 Black students received about 8 percent of all STEM bachelor’s degrees and only 4.5 percent of STEM doctorates, and in 2011, the department found only 6 percent of the STEM workforce was black.
“We have to reverse this trend,” Harris said on a campaign fact sheet CNN obtained.
At the conference, Harris also condemned President Donald Trump for saying in a Twitter message earlier this month that four congresswomen of color should “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.”
“We’re not going back,” Harris said. “We’re not going back. And, in fact, I’ll tell y’all where we’re going. We’re going to the White House.”