An emphasis on STEM careers — careers in science, technology, engineering and math — has not only prompted prospective college students to seek training in these high-demand fields, but it also has helped women work toward closing the gender gap. Although the scarcity of women in STEM fields, especially in technology-centered industries, has often been a deterring factor, STEM scholarships could ultimately be the key to attracting more qualified female professionals.
Bringing Diversity to the Workforce
STEM scholarships could help fill desks in technology companies seeking to flood their offices with talented female candidates. In fact, these scholarships provide incentives for female professionals, offer monetary resources for gaining the education required, and allow for support and access to mentoring for these young women, according to ComputerWorld. The influx of female job candidates prepared for STEM fields also benefits companies as they improve the diversity of their workforce and increase the number employees they hire from underrepresented groups. The efforts have spanned beyond scholarships, too, with companies creating educational programs and incentives for elementary and secondary school children to have access to computer science courses, which ultimately provide pathways to STEM careers.
Meeting an Immediate Need for Employers
With a significantly lower number of women versus men employed in STEM fields, employers are shifting their recruitment efforts toward women to bring a broader talent pool to the table. Scholarships provide an incentive and show that companies such as Google, General Assembly, and Intel are seeking to fill immediate needs within their workforces while also closing the gender gap. These scholarships offer access to technology and education that may not have existed in the past.
Creating Stronger Partnerships
Offering female professionals the opportunity to gain entry into STEM fields with monetary resources provides companies with the opportunity to build stronger partnerships with organizations working to close the gender gap. As a result, companies gain qualified employees, women have fair representation in the workforce, and organizations bring awareness to the need for females within the technology sector. The initiatives to recruit women through mentoring programs and scholarships also bring attention to the lack of females in leadership roles. When companies seek out strategies and methods to diversify their employee bases, the opportunity to send women through the leadership ranks creates a much more level playing field for the workforce and the gender gap.
Providing scholarships for females interested in preparing for careers in STEM fields is a powerful initiative designed to not only close the gender gap, but also to bring awareness to the high demands of this industry. Creating a workforce of qualified individuals is the primary goal, and companies have recognized that female professionals are a crucial part of their growth.
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