ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) has entered a formal partnership with the Information Technology Senior Management Forum (ITSMF), to recruit, retain and develop black talent in the technology sector pipeline, from pre-college students to executive leaders. ITSMF President Viola Thompson and Karl W. Reid, Ed.D., NSBE executive director, signed a memorandum of understanding between the two organizations at NSBE World Headquarters in Alexandria, Va., on  Dec. 9.

ITSMF, founded in 1996, is the only national organization dedicated exclusively to cultivating executive talent among black technology professionals, who now hold only 6 percent of management-level jobs in their field, according to data obtained by the forum. NSBE, founded in 1975, is dedicated to moving black students and professionals from underrepresentation to overrepresentation in the field of engineering. The percentage of African Americans among new engineers in the U.S. has been shrinking for more than a decade and was only 3.5 percent in 2014.

“There’s a clear overlap between the missions of NSBE and ITSMF, and a great opportunity to leverage our effectiveness by working together to develop successful African-American tech professionals,” says Dr. Reid.

“Information Technology Senior Management Forum is honored to be entering into a formal partnership with NSBE, as we work together to increase the representation of blacks in the technology industry,” says Thompson. “This agreement will enable us to mentor the youth and support their interest in STEM-related disciplines. Our members welcome the opportunity to nurture and transform tomorrow’s C-suite executives and prepare a diverse, globally competitive workforce for our corporate partners.”

NSBE and ITSMF will seek ways to improve the retention and sustainable growth of students and professionals from groups underrepresented in technology fields, through mentoring, career literacy and other programs. Joint conferences, symposia and business meetings, and coauthored articles and white papers are among the other initiatives the two groups are exploring.

Neville Green, a senior majoring in chemical engineering at the City University of New York, is NSBE’s national chair, the Society’s top-ranking officer. Green sees great benefits in the NSBE-ITSMF agreement, for current engineering students and professionals and African-American K–12 students as well.

“Partnerships such as this will be critical as we reach out to middle school and younger students to meet the primary goal of our 10-year strategic plan,” says Green. “By 2025, we want to see an increase in the number of African-American bachelor’s degree recipients in engineering, from 3,500 to 10,000 annually. Working with organizations such as ITSMF will help put our goal within reach.”

Founded in 1975, the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) is one of the largest student-governed organizations based in the United States. With more than 31,000 members and more than 300 chapters in the U.S. and abroad, NSBE supports and promotes the aspirations of collegiate and pre-collegiate students and technical professionals in engineering and technology. NSBE’s mission is “to increase the number of culturally responsible black engineers who excel academically, succeed professionally and positively impact the community.” For more information, visit

The Information Technology Senior Management Forum (ITSMF), founded in 1996,  is the only national organization dedicated to fostering executive-level African-American technology talent. ITSMF increases the representation of black professionals at senior levels in technology to impact organizational innovation and growth, by developing and nurturing these dynamic leaders through enrichment of the mind, body and soul. For more information, visit


Christina Sykes
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