As the U.S. approaches a shortage of trained personnel, the government seeks to broaden the ranks of scientists
WASHINGTON -- The federal government is stepping up its efforts to draw more minority students into science. But administrators both inside and outside the government say it's too early to know whether the new programs will be any more effective than previous programs, which were built on a desire to eliminate discrimination and improve opportunities for minorities. The new measures being taken, officials say, are based in part on the nation's economic self-interest and the fact that insufficient numbers of white students are pursuing careers in science.

Officials have known for at least 30 years that blacks, Hispanics, and native Americans are underrepresented in science and engineering. But efforts to correct this imbalance have been relatively few in number and small in scope. Of those programs operating long enough to produce results,...

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