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Shortage of female STEM workers hurts tech industry

Kenneth Corbin | April 28, 2014
The low number of women working in computer science isn't just a concern for tech companies worried about the image problem of a male-dominated workforce. It's also a business challenge.

Intel, for instance, has forged a partnership with the National Center for Women & Information Technology and sponsors hackathons, girls-only robotics teams and other activities oriented toward generating interest in technology among students.

The company also recruits its employees into student mentorship programs and other efforts to engage with the education community. "On a basic level, we encourage all of our employees to volunteer in any way they choose," Hawkins says.

Community, Youth Outreach Can Be 'Transformational'

Community outreach can also be a two-way street. Mark Vaughn, manager of technical talent pipelining at Corning, urges companies to consider efforts as simple as bring-your-child-to-work days. Vaughn recalls one such day about a decade ago, when he brought his daughter to shadow him in Corning's R&D center. She got to observe researchers working on cutting-edge innovations in a hands-on setting.

The experience was transformational, Vaughn says. His daughter went on to earn a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering and is now working on her master's in the same field.

"That's something that individual companies can actually do," Vaughn says, urging firms of all sizes, simply enough: "Start somewhere."

 

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