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Do we need a title IX for STEM workers?

Kenneth Corbin | May 19, 2014
Senior government official says the landmark education reform bill is a possible template for addressing shortage of technical workers and bridging the gender gap in IT.

Some of that work could entail a grass-roots effort on the part of businesses to increase their presence in the schools. Businesses could dispatch employees to career fairs, say, or invite students from a local school to their office for a field trip. Members of the company's leadership team could arrange with local universities to deliver guest lectures, or even teach an adjunct class.

Curriculum reform is another important ingredient, according to Teresa Carlson, vice president of the worldwide public sector with Amazon Web Services. Carlson signaled support for establishing some baseline requirement for students to learn programming skills at an early age, with the important stipulation that that work would be presented not simply as an exercise, but as a problem-solving technique.

"I believe that we do have to start in elementary schools encouraging young girls to do coding, because it's the new typing. Everybody has to learn coding. And also to create an environment of social feasibility for them so that they're solving problems and seeing that technology is the way to do these kinds of things," Carlson said. "So I really believe that there's a huge opportunity for young girls and women to get into technology careers. And by the way, the salaries aren't so bad, either."

 

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