The Importance of Education

When I think about education, I think about transformation. Education transfers the mind from a lower level of knowledge to a higher knowledge. Higher knowledge coupled with capability sets the stage for industry.

We can all relate to how children first learn to add numbers by counting with their fingers. To add 4 +3, they hold up 4 fingers on one hand and 3 fingers on the other and then count up all the fingers to arrive at 7. In advanced finger counting, they can handle sums greater than 10. To find the sum of 11 + 8, the finger counter starts by calling out the first operand, eleven, and then counting forward until he has used 8 fingers. But without arithmetic education, the finger counter cannot find the sum of 131 +94. While shopping one day, the student sees 2 games he wants to buy. One game costs $131 and the other game costs $94. He scratches his head and ponders the question, “How much allowance money do I need to ask mom or dad for to purchase both games?” He holds up his fingers and starts counting and gets frustrated when he loses track of the finger count. To get the answer, he must use higher knowledge more advanced than counting with fingers. He has to learn how to add numbers in a column, starting with the sum of the right-most column and then moving to the left column. He must carry the tens place to the operand in the hundredths place. Without arithmetic education, the student still counting on fingers cannot function at the grocery store (later in life), when the need arises to determine how much money is needed to buy a basket of groceries or pay a stack of bills.

Contributing to the overall rise in African-American mean incomes is Blacks’ participation rate in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) careers.

Higher education allows a software engineer to write code for a photo-eye that counts the number of widgets traveling past a checkpoint. The sum of widgets produced across a set time frame, i.e. every minute, determines line speed which the Line supervisor has to monitor. An advanced, software engineer may be required to write code that counts the milliseconds it takes a lazer beam to deflect off an approaching vehicle and travel back to a receptor. The milliseconds of the successive lazer beam cycles (as the car gets closer to the monitor point) are used to calculate the vehicle speed. The code then triggers a camera to take a picture of the driver if that calculated speed exceeds a posted speed limit. estimates (with high confidence) that the average annual salary of a software engineer in the San Francisco area is $126K (six figure income). See Figure 1. The entrepreneur educated to run a successful software development company can achieve earnings that total nine figures.

Which brings me to my next point:  In order for our young boys and girls to transform from earning minimum wages to six figure then 9 figure earnings, they need education (higher knowledge) to qualify for those higher paying jobs.  Education can come from an institution or a private mentor or a combination of the two.  Bottom line is:  when the market place asks the question, “Can you count?”  The answer to that question determines what job opportunities our young boys and girls are eligible for.  Qualification coupled with skill lands the job assignment.

HBA mission is to inform students that they need to bring an educated skill set to the workplace, whether they are pursuing a college-requisite career, launching a business or practicing a skilled trade.  Education is key.

Literature Review

The Nielsen Report is a popular information source that provides data on African-American (AA) finance and spending trends.

The report below describes a growing AA population and the correlation between African-American income and education.

Increasingly affluent, educated and diverse African-American Consumers:  the Untold Story


From 2000 to 2014, the nation’s Black population grew 35% faster than the total population, at a rate of 17.7% compared to 13.1%. The 17.7% growth rate of Blacks more than doubled the 8.2% growth of the White population.  By 2019, the nation’s African-American population is projected to increase by another 5.9%, which is expected to exceed the 4.4% growth estimated for the total U.S. population.  It is further projected that by the year 2060, the Black population will increase from the current 45.7* million to 74.5 million, making up 17.9% of the total U.S. population.


Black households have seen their median income rise by 3.5% over the past three years from 2011-2013, as The Great Recession has waned.  Real median household income increased more among African-American households (+$793) than among White households (+$433) and more than the total population, according to the U.S. Census.  For the most recent year available (2012-2013), Black median household income increased 2.3%, which outpaced the income growth for any category, including total households, whose median income statistically did not change (+.3%). In fact, the percentage of African-Americans who earned more than $50,000 per year increased from 30% in 2005 to 36% in 2013, and those who earned more than $75,000 increased from 15% in 2005 to 20% in 2013.

Contributing to the overall rise in African-American mean incomes is Blacks’ participation rate in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) careers. While Blacks have historically been consistently underrepresented in STEM-oriented careers, which drive some of the higher paying jobs in the country, that statistic is improving.  According to the U.S. Census Bureau in the 2011 American Community Survey, 6% of STEM workers were Black, up from only 2% in 1970.  Similar improvement is noted in the medical field, with Blacks comprising about 7% of the medical school population, up from 2% in 1970.