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Join our <a href="">Google+ Hangout</a> on bridging the diversity gap in STEM education and careers at 2:30 pm ET today. | Graphic courtesy of Sarah Gerrity.

Join our Google+ Hangout on bridging the diversity gap in STEM education and careers at 2:30 pm ET today. | Graphic courtesy of Sarah Gerrity.

The evidence couldn’t be clearer -- STEM workers are in demand. According to the Department of Commerce, over the past decade STEM jobs grew three times faster than non-STEM positions and will continue to outpace other job sectors by a wide margin.

As the President put it in his recent State of the Union Address science, technology, engineering and math are “the skills today’s employers are looking for to fill jobs that are there right now and will be there in the future.”

Yet, while industry demand for STEM professionals builds at a feverish pace, another troubling trend is also gaining momentum. The STEM gap is widening for minorities. Blacks and Latinos represent about 28 percent of the U.S. population yet account for only 7 percent of America’s STEM workforce. By increasing the participation of these underrepresented groups in STEM education and careers, America will be better equipped to lead the world in energy, science and innovation.

Tomorrow, February 27, at 2:30 pm ET, I invite you to join me -- and a panel of science, technology and innovation experts -- for a live Google+ Hangout on increasing diversity in STEM education and careers.

Joining me for this important discussion will be Dr. Mae Jemison, physicist, engineer and the first woman of color in space; Dr. Karina Edmonds, aeronautical engineer and Technology Transfer Coordinator at the Energy Department; and Bryan Carter, student at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and alum of our National Science Bowl competition.

Submit your questions to our panelists in advance of the live discussion by:

In addition to answering your STEM questions, we’ll share advice based on our own experiences as STEM professionals, details on why STEM is critical to executing the Energy Department’s overall mission, and information on scholarships, fellowships and other opportunities offered at the Energy Department to develop minorities in STEM fields. This Google+ Hangout is a discussion you will not want to miss. I look forward to engaging with you.