By Jocelyn Jackson and Karl W. Reid
 
The multiple crises of 2020 — a viral pandemic, racist killings and unnatural “natural disasters” — exposed longstanding social inequities in the United States. But in one respect, for those of us serving on the Strategic Planning Task Force of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), they were an equalizer: no one on the team, from the college students comprising NSBE’s national leadership to the most seasoned staff and technical professionals who contributed their expertise, had ever seen such times before.
 
Like all crises, however, these presented opportunities. NSBE’s task force realized that now was the time to reach even higher and think even more creatively to build on NSBE’s 45-year legacy, to continue the progress we had made toward our “10K Goal” of leading the nation to produce 10,000 new Black Engineers each year, and to expand the social justice consciousness and activism that had been at the center of our Society since it was founded by African-American engineering students at Purdue University more than four and a half decades ago.
 
A full year of labor during a tumultuous time gave birth to Game Change 2025: the 2020–2025 Strategic Plan of the National Society of Black Engineers, a document that reshapes the work of NSBE’s mission to enable greater success in the coming era of social and economic transformation.
 
Quietly, during the turmoil of 2020, more than 5,600 Black students received engineering bachelor’s degrees in the U.S., up from only 3,501 five years earlier, an achievement that moved NSBE past the halfway mark of its journey to “10K.” Game Change 2025 aims to sustain and accelerate that success by presenting strategic direction, critical initiatives, challenges to be met and measurable headline indicators, and by placing those elements on a “strategic articulation map” of pathways that align with the main areas of NSBE’s STEM ecosystem: “Ready!” for our engagement with K–12 students; “Set!!” for our collegiate programs and activities; and “Go!!!” for our support of STEM professionals. Game Change 2025 also outlines effective steps to enhance NSBE’s brand and grow the organization sustainably through strategic investment.
 
Our plan is unashamedly ambitious, as it must be, for the sake of the Black communities we hail from and serve. If nothing else, the pandemic has taught us that our future is increasingly dependent on knowledge of, and proficiency in, the STEM fields, including engineering. But our plan is also rock solid, based on the best thinking of trained problems solvers — aspiring and accomplished engineers.
 
Game Change 2025 is clearly a plan for the times, one that will drive more Black excellence in engineering, more investment in NSBE and greater social justice during the next five years and beyond. You can read the full release at gamechange2025.nsbe.org 
 
Jocelyn Jackson is 2019–2021 national chair and Karl W. Reid, Ed.D., is executive director of the National Society of Black Engineers.




The multiple crises of 2020 — a viral pandemic, racist killings and unnatural “natural disasters” — exposed longstanding social inequities in the United States. But in one respect, for those of us serving on the Strategic Planning Task Force of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), they were an equalizer: no one on the team, from the college students comprising NSBE’s national leadership to the most seasoned staff and technical professionals who contributed their expertise, had ever seen such times before.