NORWALK — Norwalk Community College will offer a new scholarship for African-American men beginning this spring.

The scholarship will be awarded to 10 students majoring in STEM-related fields. The STEM disciplines cover science, technology, mathematics and engineering.

Created by OMNIKAL founder, Norwalk Community College alumni and Fairfield businessman Kenton Clarke, the scholarship addresses the lack of opportunities for African-American males to enter fields in technology.

“There is a shortage of building a strong pool of talent within this community,” Clarke said. “The formation of this scholarship is just one step forward in building the pipeline for diverse talent in the technology industry. At the heart of STEM is entrepreneurship, as a majority of STEM majors become entrepreneurs and account for a huge percentage of the small business workforce.”

Roughly 17 percent of Norwalk Community College students identify as African-American, according to the school’s enrollment report. There is no breakdown of how many of those students are males majoring in STEM-related fields.

Data from the National Science Foundation shows that the number of black men who earn science and engineering doctorates in the U.S. grew by more than 25 percent in 10 years. That may seem like large growth; however, data shows that the number of black men receiving science and engineering doctorates barely budged between 2003 and 2013, and their representation has stayed essentially flat, between 4.5 percent and 4.8 percent of all science and engineering doctorates.

Meanwhile, the number of science and engineering bachelor’s degrees awarded to black men increased 45 percent in that time frame. But similarly, black men as a proportion of all science and engineering bachelor’s degree recipients has remained essentially unchanged, at 6.1 percent in 2002 and 6.2 percent in 2012.

“Norwalk Community College and its Foundation are grateful to Kenton Clarke for creating a new scholarship to support African American male students studying technology at NCC,” said NCC President, Dr. David Levinson. "The NCC Foundation awards $1 million in annual scholarships to support 500 students; STEM careers are of particular interest to both our students and the local business community.”; 203-842-2563; @kaitlynkrasselt