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Career Self-Efficacy of the Black Engineer in the U.S. Government Workplace

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2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

Beyond Students: Issues of Underrepresentation among Parents and Professionals

Tagged Division

Minorities in Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

24.258.1 - 24.258.25



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Paper Authors


Scott Hofacker PE US Army

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Dr. Hofacker is a recent graduate of The George Washington University's Graduate School of Education and Human Development. His research area is the career self-efficacy of racially underrepresented minorities in the engineering workplace. Dr. Hofacker is also the Concept Design and Assessment Focus Area Lead for the US Army's Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama. He is responsible for the strategic planning of science and technology efforts related to concepts and designs to support the next generation of future vertical lift aircraft. He has over 25 years of experience in science and technology, industrial and systems engineering and program management. He also holds a Bachelor of Industrial Engineering degree from Auburn University, a Master of Science in Engineering degree from the University of Alabama in Huntsville, and an MBA from Florida Institute of Technology.

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Career Self-efficacy of the Black Engineer in the U.S. Government Workplace Scott A. Hofacker, PE U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center ABSTRACTThis paper reports the results of a quantitative, nonexperimental, cross-sectional,one-time, web-based survey on the career self-efficacy (Hackett & Betz, 1981) ofracially underrepresented minority engineers in the engineering workplace—aworkplace that has been described as a “haven of whiteness and masculinity”(Barack & Franks, 2004) and “pale” and “male” (Wulf, 1999).Engineering has been a key component of the U.S.’s global technologicalsuperiority. However, U.S. racial demographics are changing. The number ofwhites currently in the workforce and the number of whites entering the workforcewill decrease. Given current college and university graduation rates by race, thenumber of underrepresented minority engineers is not on a path to meet theshortfall. Quoting the president of the National Council for Minorities inEngineering (NACME) in a recent report, “we cannot—and should not—expectyoung white males to replace them,” referring to the “post-Sputnik generation ofwhite male engineers” (Freehill, et al., 2008). Admirably, science, technology,engineering, and mathematics (STEM) programs attempt to address this shortfallwith much attention in primary and secondary schools, and in college.However, the underrepresented engineer then enters the engineering workforcewhere career attainment is less likely than for the majority and where workplaceenvironments can contain significant career attainment barriers. These attainmentand workplace environment issues exist despite the $8 billion to $10 billioncompanies spend annually on diversity programs to create opportunity andinclusion strategies for underrepresented minorities.Career self-efficacy—a belief in one’s ability to plan, implement, and execute thecourses of action required to attain in one’s career—may be one way to assess thegap between attainment and opportunity. Career self-efficacy of black engineers ismeasured through an adapted 25-question Career Decision Self-efficacy ShortForm (Betz, Klein, & Taylor, 1996) instrument, assessing career self-efficacysubscales of self-appraisal, occupational information gathering, goal setting,planning, and problem solving.As submitted to the American Society for Engineering Education 2014 Annual Conference’s call for papers

Hofacker, S. (2014, June), Career Self-Efficacy of the Black Engineer in the U.S. Government Workplace Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--20149

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