Skills USA on Career Technical Education and STEM Learning for Women

skills usa“SkillsUSA is excited to offer young women the opportunity to develop their professional and technical skills through numerous diverse technical programs and interactive curricula and competitive events.  It is very gratifying to see the needle starting to move as more and more students are pursuing non-traditional pathways in our nation’s schools as they engage in STEM education and programs like SkillsUSA.” — Tim Lawrence, executive director, SkillsUSA

As an organization with more than 600 business and industry partners covering all the major industries that employ technical and skilled labor, SkillsUSA frequently hears about the graying of America’s workforce, our growing “skills gap,” and the need to broaden and diversify the talent pool available to our partner employers. Every industry with whom we partner is seeking ways to encourage more young women to explore the rewards of STEM education and STEM-related careers.

Career and Technical Education (CTE) is the application model of STEM learning. It’s where science and math move from the backboard and textbook to the problem solving of “doing.” STEM permeates nearly all aspects of CTE, including some elements of leadership and employability skills training that supplement career-focused technologies.

“One hallmark of high-quality CTE is that it offers true ‘contextualized’ learning for students, or ways for students to master technical and academic content within the context of a specific industry or career pathway. Much of this contextualizing is about providing students with more hands-on learning that focuses on solving a problem or undertaking a project that is reflective of an authentic, real-world challenge. High-quality STEM pathways and courses strive to provide such student-centered, problem-based learning as well.”[i]

Of the 100 leadership and hands-on occupational skills contests that will be conducted at the SkillsUSA Championships this summer in Louisville, 77 will have a strong STEM focus and the others will feature elements relating to STEM.

Females comprise 37% of SkillsUSA’s high school and postsecondary students, but too often those numbers cluster in the industries that traditionally attract young women, such as hospitality and personal services. So, we all have work to do if we are to better serve our economy and maximize the human potential of young women who possess the talent to thrive in more “non-traditional” industries for female employees.

And that is where SkillsUSA and other Career and Technical Student Organizations are playing an important role in introducing young women to career possibilities through STEM. Nearly every SkillsUSA instructor is a mentor of young women in STEM education, helping them find career passions and develop skills that more traditional pathways may never open to them. The growth in our nation’s system of Career and Technical Education and in organizations like SkillsUSA rebounds as a larger and more diverse skilled labor pool that narrows the nation’s skills gap.

SkillsUSA is a not-for-profit national association of 310,000 member students and educators partnering with business and industry to ensure that the U.S. has a well-prepared rising skilled workforce. One hundred thirty (130) trade, technical and skilled service occupational titles are represented in the curricula of SkillsUSA member students, covering the construction, manufacturing, transportation, health sciences, information technology, communications, personal services, hospitality, public safety and engineering technology industries.

[i] CTE is Your STEM Strategy, NASDCTEc, December 2013.


The Business Case for Workplace Mentoring

By: MacKenzie Moore, Associate, Million Women Mentors®

“The greatest good you can do for another is not just to share your riches but to

reveal to them their own.” – B. Disraeli

January is National Mentoring Month and across the nation, corporations, non-profit organizations and states are celebrating the impact of mentoring. But how much can a mentor help protégés and why will it be integral to the advancement of science, technology, engineering and mathematics?

The Benefits of Mentoring

Most Fortune 500 companies, seventy-one percent, to be exact, look to mentorship programs to solve this problem (1) and I wonder why…

In 2006, Gartner studied the financial impacts of a mentoring program in Sun Microsystems (owned by Oracle). Of the 1,000 Sun Microsystems employees mentored, 25% had a salary grade change (compared with 5% of their non-mentored co-workers), 72% of mentees were retained (compared with 49% of employees who were not mentored), and the mentored employees were promoted five times- more often than those not in the program. The same study also found mentors received promotions six times more often than their peers. The retention rate of the leaders who mentored was also 20% higher than the retention rate of those who did not participate in the program (2).

Some people view mentoring as a solely philanthropic venture – an activity they would partake in for the benefit of their mentee but not themselves. As the numbers above prove, this is simply not the case. Mentoring is often as valuable, if not more, to the mentor as it is to the mentee. Mentors often say they develop a personal and effective leadership style, gain an understanding of technology, appeal to younger generations, and the dynamic in lower levels of the organization (2). Mentees learn valuable career lessons, which can facilitate transitions and increase over all success (among the many skills based and individualized lessons learned). Essentially, mentoring turns a typical co-worker relationship into a mutual and meaningful, relationship for both parties.

There is one more group involved in the mentor-mentee relationship: the company. As stated above, 71% of Fortune 500 companies have already established mentoring programs (1). These are multi-billion dollar companies. They are financially incentivized and almost exclusively invest their money in programs with a strong return on investment. Why do they choose mentoring programs? First of all, every benefit to the mentors and mentees listed above also benefits the companies. In addition, Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania found mentoring relationships positively impact productivity, engagement, and retention (2). They also found even when a mentee transitions jobs, the company and mentor do not necessarily lose their investment in it’s human capital. Want to expand your company? Mentor. Want to bring in more revenue? Mentor. Want your employees to feel dedication and loyalty? Mentor. It fits their bottom line and is a proven benefit to the company.

A Case Study: Mentoring’s Effect on the STEM Talent Pipeline

Looking at the talent shortage in the United States can be overwhelming, given how broad a topic it is. This talent can range from English teachers and sales personnel to trained fire fighters, business professionals, and everything in between. There is no ‘one size fits all’ solution to the STEM talent shortage. Finding effective and efficient solutions requires narrowing the focus. Take the STEM talent pipeline as a case study – you will find the competition for recruiting the best STEM talent is even fiercer. In 2009, STEM jobs accounted for 5.3% of the total workforce, but by the time 2018 rolls around, more than 70% of all jobs will require STEM skills (3). In the words of my fourth grade mentee, “YOWZA!”

But why? Why is STEM so important? Well, to start with, technological innovation accounts for more than one third of recent growth in U.S. GDP and more than two thirds of investment in corporate capital (4). It’s everything from computer science to engineering, doctors to astrophysicists. It drives the economy and gives the United States an edge in international competition. For this reason, key leaders like President Obama, U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee, and the U.S. Department of Commerce are getting involved.

The latest hot topic in the discussion of the STEM talent pipeline has been the alarming and universal lack of women and minorities in these jobs. In 2009, only 2.5 million of the 9.7 million total college-educated STEM workers were female (3). Read more on the subject and you will quickly discover what a depressing topic women in STEM can be. Reports of high concentrations of rape and sexual assault, of women being repeatedly told they will never find a husband if they study STEM, or simply pushed out of their field. The gender gap in STEM disciplines “leaves an untapped opportunity to expand STEM employment in the United States” and is yet another factor in maintaining a competitive nation (3).

The U.S. Department of Commerce, Economics and Statistics Administration reports this gender gap is due to a lack of role models, gender stereotyping, and a lack of family friendly dynamics in STEM fields (3). Girls start feeling pushed out of STEM by boys and pulled out by girlfriends starting as early as middle school. By the time young women graduate high school, only 15% are interested in pursuing college majors or careers in science, technology, engineering or mathematics according to MyCollegeOptions reports, in partnership with Million Women Mentors®. Mentorship allows these girls and young women to understand the life of a STEM worker and envision themselves in this role. In order to curb the shortage of STEM workers in the future, increased interest and participation of women in STEM will have to be an imperative of the nation and key aspect of the solution.


  1. Hyde, Janet S., Sarah M. Lindburg, Marcia C. Linn, Amy B. Ellis, and Caroline C. Williams. “Gender Similarities Characterize Math Performance.” Science Magazine5888 (2008): 494-95. Web.
  2. “Workplace Loyalties Change but the Value of Mentoring Doesn’t.” Knowledge @ Wharton. Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania, 16 May 2007. Web. 30 Sept. 2014.
  3. “Women in STEM: A Gender Gap to Innovation.” Economics and Statistics Administration. U.S Department of Commerce, Aug. 2011. Web. 10 Oct. 2014.
  4. “Technological Innovation and Economic Performance.” Princeton University Press. Ed. Benn Steil, David G. Victor, and Richard R. Nelson. Princeton University Press, 23 Sept. 2014. Web. 30 Sept. 2014.
  5. Brack, Jessica. “Maximizing Millennials in the Workplace.” Kenan-Flager Business School. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2012. Web. 25 Sept. 2014.
  6. Meister, Jeanne C., and Karie Willyerd. “Mentoring Millennials.” Harvard Business Review. N.p., May 2010. Web. 25 Sept. 2014.
  7. “2013 Talent Shortage Survey United States.” Manpower Group. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Sept. 2014.
  8. Casey, Bob. “STEM Education: Preparing for the Jobs of the Future.” S. Congress Joint Economic Committee. N.p., Apr. 2012. Web. 30 Sept. 2014.
  9. “Women in STEM: Realizing the Potential.” Million Women Mentors. STEMconnector/Tata Consultancy Services, Mar. 2014. Web. 30 Sept. 2014.
  10. “Best Practices: Mentoring.” United States Office of Personnel Management. N.p., Sept. 2008. Web. 26 Sept. 2014.

Teach For America Recruits and Trains Leaders in STEM

“As a national organization dedicated to recruiting and training leaders to teach in PK-12 classrooms in low-income communities, we deeply value the role that mentoring can play in boosting student success. We are thrilled to support Million Women Mentors because we know our teachers serve not only as instructors but also as mentors for young women to pursue STEM subjects and STEM careers – and also because our teachers see an urgent need for their young women to have exposure to STEM fields early on.”

– Melissa Moritz, Vice President, STEM and Education Initiatives

Teach For America believes all students deserve an excellent education, regardless of their background or where they live. We do this by recruiting, training and supporting educators to serve in high-need urban and rural communities across the country.

Many of the students we reach are underrepresented in professional fields, including STEM. Women of color comprise fewer than 1 in 10 employed scientists and engineers. These students deserve every opportunity to be exposed to STEM professions and receive the high-quality STEM education which will prepare them to pursue these professions if they wish.

Teach For America deeply values the role that mentoring can play in boosting students’ success. We are thrilled to support Million Women Mentors because we know our teachers serve not only as instructors but also as mentors for young women to pursue STEM subjects and STEM careers – and also because our teachers see an urgent need for their young women to have exposure to STEM fields early on. We are committed to sharing the opportunity to be a mentor with our network of current and former educators, and sharing the opportunity to be mentored with the students of our educators.

In 2014, we shared the Million Women Mentors pledge with our network. We sought opinions, tips, and recommendations from our teachers’ students, and from staff who have served as mentors in the past. And we shared what we learned with the Million Women Mentors community. In 2015, we are committed to once again sharing the mentoring opportunity with our educators to help ensure that more young women across the country know about the opportunity to be matched with a mentor.

AAUW: Empowering Girls and Young Women with STEM

AAUWAAUW provides opportunities for girls in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics as part of our mission to empower women and girls. Our nationwide programs, research, and advocacy encourage members to work in their own communities to ensure that women achieve equality in the important and high-paying STEM fields.

We understand that mentorship is an essential part of STEM programs that inspire women and girls. We introduce girls to successful female role models in STEM through nationwide programs such as Tech Trek, our weeklong summer camps for rising eighth-grade girls, and Tech Savvy, our one-day career conferences for girls in grades 6–9. In these programs, we break down stereotypes about the traditionally male-dominated STEM fields and teach a total of 3,200 girls that these fields can lead to successful and exciting careers.

Across the country, in more than 1,000 local branches, AAUW members address the needs of their communities through programs that put AAUW research into action. Girls have the chance to interact one-on-one with women in their communities who have broken through barriers in STEM and can provide insight on how to pursue a STEM career.

We also support women throughout all stages of their careers with millions of dollars each year in fellowships for women’s graduate education as well as grants for community projects that put their research into action. Over 125 years, we’ve awarded fellowships and grants to more than 12,000 recipients — many in STEM fields — establishing AAUW among the leading private funders of women graduate students in the world.

In March 2015, AAUW will release our highly anticipated research report, Solving the Equation: Women in Computing and Engineering which will examine the underrepresentation of women in these fields and make recommendations for recruiting and retaining more women at the college and workplace levels. This report reach a wide and diverse audience based on the popularity and impact of our 2010 research report Why So Few? Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.

AAUW is thrilled to continue our work with STEMConnector and to be a member of Million Women Mentors (MWM). We value the opportunities MWM brings to communicate to the larger STEM community and learn more about what other STEMConnector members are doing to further the goal of securing mentorship for women and girls nationwide.

Techbridge Provides Girls and Young Women Role Models in STEM

techbridge“Role models can have profound and lasting impact. I know because our Techbridge girls have returned years later to share that it was because of a role model they met in middle school or on a field trip they took in high school that they reimagined their futures and themselves. I have seen these girls completely captivated by activities like programming video games, taking apart hairdryers to learn how they work, and soldering circuits. But as good as these activities are, they are not enough. While girls have fun doing hands-on projects, their enjoyment does not translate into a career interest. It takes role models who live the joys of STEM and who can share their passion and personal story to inspire girls in STEM studies and careers. Our girls and role models helped us develop our “recipe for success” to support role models. With training, role models learn how to tell a personal story and communicate passion for their work, how to offer academic guidance, and how to manage behavior when you’ve got a roomful of fifth graders. We are ever grateful to each and every role model who has volunteered time to give back and inspire our girls.”

– Linda Kekelis

CEO/Executive Director, Techbridge

Techbridge is an award-winning nonprofit devoted to empowering girls to change the world through science, technology and engineering. Our innovative after-school and summer programs inspire 5th through 12th grade girls from underserved communities to pursue STEM careers and other dreams through hands-on projects, role models and field trips. Our proven data-driven model also builds confidence, problem-solving skills, perseverance, and public speaking abilities that serve them in any career. Building on 15 years of experience, Techbridge has served over 14,000 girls through after-school programs and partnerships with other organizations such as Girls Scout Councils and Society of Women Engineers. Awards and recognition include Silicon Valley Education Foundation’s national award for innovations in science education (2012), National Center for Women & Information Technology’s Educator Award (2014), inclusion in Fundacion Telefonica’s “Top 100 Educational Innovations” (2014), winning participant in White House US2020 Competition, and East Bay Innovation Award for Education (2014).

Techbridge strongly believes that personal exposure to STEM role models is critical for girls to develop the interest and confidence to pursue a STEM career. While it’s ideal for girls to develop a close ongoing mentorship relationship, evidence shows that even short-term personal interaction with role models can deeply impact them. For its 15-year history, Techbridge’s programs have centered on connecting girls to STEM role models with careers spanning a multitude of industries from software development to civil engineering to biotechnology. In the past 5 years, Techbridge has also poured our knowledge and experience into developing resources and trainings that enhance the STEM role model outreach efforts of other organizations, supporting a wide range of partners including National Girls Collaborative Project, Society of Women Engineers, Girl Scout Councils, US Department of Energy and other federal STEM workers. Techbridge’s unique resources and trainings boost the success of role models through techniques and best practices shared with individual role models, and on a broader scale, organizations that run role model programs.

In 2014, Techbridge impacted nearly 3,000 STEM role models by connecting them to elementary and high school girls through field trips, after-school visits and Techbridge online and in-person role model trainings. In addition to the role models engaged in Techbridge after-school programs, our Role Models Matter project, funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), works with Girl Scout Councils, National Girls Collaborative Project, and Society of Women Engineers to support them in their efforts to connect STEM role models to girls.  Techbridge also develops and hosts the open-source, online Role Models Matter Toolkit, a valuable resource designed to support organizations with role model and mentoring programs, as well as any individual who wants to be a role model.  The Role Models Matter Toolkit includes video examples of role models in action demonstrating best practices in STEM outreach as well as ideas for engaging activities such as icebreakers and hands-on STEM projects.

We have learned so much over the past 15 years about what it takes for role models to be effective. We are now looking to partner with more groups to share our resources and lessons learned. Through the NSF Role Models Matter project, Techbridge plans to impact thousands more role models (and girl-serving groups who want to engage role models) nationwide through dissemination of trainings, the Role Models Matter Toolkit, print role model guides, and conference presentations.

To further our reach and impact we are expanding our programs nationally. With support from NSF, we recently launched a hub of programs in Greater Seattle, and are now preparing to launch programs in Washington, DC this fall. To inspire the girls participating in those after-school programs, we’re working to build up a dynamic network of role models in the Pacific Northwest and DC areas.

We’re focused on diversity, to ensure we have a pool of role models that is as culturally and ethnically diverse as the girls in our Techbridge programs. Techbridge is collecting data and setting goals on the demographics of our role models, which will help us better understand our progress and learn what’s working as well as how we can improve.

In particular, we’re actively seeking to engage more Black and Hispanic women in STEM professions to serve as role models to Techbridge girls. (If you fit that bill, please contact us!)

We want every girl (and boy) throughout the country to be inspired by STEM and expand their options through the role models they meet. Whether it is through our programs directly serving Techbridge girls, or through partnerships supporting the role model efforts of other organizations, Techbridge aims to catalyze a dramatic rise in the number of women actively serving as STEM role models and inspiring girls to change the world.

Texas’ Strategy for Mentoring 20,000 Girls and Young Women in STEM

The Texas Girls Collaborative Project (TxGCP) is committed to engaging 20,000 STEM mentors across Texas as part of the Million Women Mentors movement. The Texas STEM industry (energy, biosciences, space, semiconductor, gaming, medicine, high tech and more) and Texas universities have thousands of amazing students, post docs, faculty, administrators and STEM professionals ready to mentor and serve as needed role models to encourage girls to consider STEM majors and careers. According to TxGCP Collaborative Lead and Women in Engineering Program Director at The University of Texas at Austin, Tricia Berry, “STEM collegiates and professionals want to give back and mentor those coming behind them. Schools, informal science organizations and out of school programs continually need role models and mentors to support their curriculum and programs. Our aim is to help connect these opportunities across our state.

In order to reach 20,000 STEM mentors, TxGCP is partnering with existing networks and mentoring resources across the state such as Central Texas Discover Engineering (Austin area), STEMFire (Dallas area), and SASTEMIC (San Antonio area). In addition, TxGCP is leveraging national platforms such as the FabFems role model database, the National Girls Collaborative Project Program Directory, MentorNet, Nepris and nPower. By partnering with these programs and connecting with Million Women Mentor sponsors with a Texas presence such as Accenture, Cisco, Freescale and Lockheed Martin, TxGCP looks forward to transforming the STEM mentoring landscape in Texas.

Moving forward, TxGCP will continue to educate STEM mentors, role models and those who utilize STEM mentors and role models across the state as part of a Techbridge Role Models Matter curriculum dissemination. Ensuring STEM mentors use the best messaging and practices to engage kids in STEM is a guiding principal across TxGCP leadership. Expanded outreach to organizations, universities and companies with STEM collegiate or professionals will continue through 2015 as Texas continues to create a strong STEM mentoring foundation. To explore partnerships, host a role model workshop, or join the movement in Texas, contact

AcademyWomen Continues to Grow Powerful Mentoring Programs

academy women - updatedFounded in 2003, AcademyWomen is a leadership and professional development organization supporting all current, former and future women military officers to achieve their highest potential as leaders. To achieve this mission, AcademyWomen also serves all veterans (women and men) and military spouses. AcademyWomen has provided leadership development opportunities for over 11 years through leadership symposia, career-coaching workshops, and through its cutting edge web-based mentoring program, the eMentor Leadership Program.

The eMentor Program is a powerful online mentoring program for military personnel, veterans and military spouses. eMentor connects individuals for dynamic mentoring experiences that powerfully move them forward in their personal and professional lives. To achieve the best possible outcomes for all participants, AcademyWomen partners with 42 different partner organizations who support eMentor by bringing to the program highly motivated volunteer mentors from their employees, members or clients. Program partners include the US Chamber Foundation, Toyota, GE, Deloitte, Capital One, Military Officers Association of America, International Women’s Think Tank, Military Spouse Employment Partnership and SpouseLink.

Current Initiatives: Veteran and Military Spouse eMentor

ementorwithALTTagLineThe eMentor Program provides leadership development for personal and professional growth to 4,500 veterans, military spouses, and military women around the world. Fully one quarter of participating veteran protégés are women. In partnership with the Chamber of Commerce’s Hiring Our Heroes initiative eMentor provides mentorship support to military veterans and military spouses in the Veteran and Military Spouse eMentor Programs. With veteran unemployment rates hovering around 9%, and military spouse unemployment rates at 26%, these two eMentor initiatives offer robust mentoring opportunities to assist the hundreds of thousands of veterans and spouses seeking jobs today. Participating mentors provide guidance and support in career transition, career advancement, work/life balance, and other veteran or military family challenges.

The Veteran and Spouse eMentor Programs have produced powerful outcomes for participating mentors and protégés. In a survey conducted in the Fall of 2014, the Veteran eMentor Program participants report the following impacts: 92% of surveyed mentors said mentoring improved their leadership, mentoring and coaching skills; 65% of surveyed protégés reported that the eMentor Program helped them advance toward their professional goals; 56% reported more self-confidence as a result of their participation in eMentor; 37% reported being hired into new jobs since starting to participate in Veteran eMentor; 90% credit their participation in Veteran eMentor with their being hired; 71% received help with other issues related to the transition to civilian life.

In the Military Spouse program 28% of surveyed protégés reported having been hired into a new job since they started the program; 73% of protégés hired into new jobs credit their participation in the program with helping them get hired; 90% say they have more self-confidence; 87% report successfully meeting challenges in their professional life; 77% received help with preparing for and conducting their job search; 50% state they have more balance between work and personal time; 70% reported having higher morale as a military spouse. Of those surveyed, 84% of surveyed mentors reported that their experience in eMentor increased their understanding of the issues facing military spouses.

The following testimonial quotes reflect common sentiments expressed by program protégés and mentors captured in the Veteran and Military Spouse eMentor Program November 2014 survey:

“This has been an opportunity to gain a helpful friend and confidant. My mentor has provided me with an opportunity to grow my professional network quicker than I would have been able to without her assistance.”

“I am extremely grateful for my mentor and our relationship. We discuss professional development; have worked on resume writing, and work to improve job application skills. I feel extremely thankful for my mentor and this program!”

Future Initiative: STEMkids eMentor

STEM careers are extremely important to our national economy and our nation’s defense. According to Susan Feland, AcademyWomen’s President, “AcademyWomen is committed to supporting the development of the next generation of leaders in STEM through program initiatives like STEMkids. AcademyWomen is extremely well placed to leverage the high concentration of our members and partners who work in STEM careers to provide mentorship to youth participating in the STEMkids program.”

The STEMkids eMentor Program pairs middle and high school students with military veterans or civilian professionals who are working in STEM careers. The purpose of these friendly, informal one-to-one online mentoring relationships is to extend girls’ and boys’ excitement in STEM careers beyond their attendance at STEM events. The student’s mentor acts as a “big sister” or “big brother” to assist with homework and explore careers in STEM; the level of activity and engagement is up to the protégé and her/his schedule. The web-based mentoring format allows protégés “anytime” access to positive role models and a community focused on helping youth to set and attain STEM goals in order to prepare and envision themselves as future scientists, engineers and other STEM professionals. AcademyWomen hopes to pilot STEMkids in 2015 as an NSF grant project in partnership with the US Navy League.

PepsiCo, STEM and Opportunity for Women and Minorities

pepsicoAt PepsiCo, our commitment to STEM—and to women and minorities who aspire to STEM careers—starts at the top. Our Chairman and CEO, Indra Nooyi, is a tireless advocate for STEM—so much so that she has been named among the Top 100 CEOs in STEM.

Our commitment to STEM is expressed inside and outside the company. Inside, we created a PepsiCo STEM council, a cross-functional team whose mandate is nurture new STEM talent. Outside, PepsiCo’s STEM professionals are determined to make a contribution to their professions—not just their company and industry.

Together with other key stakeholders, PepsiCo has been a thought leader in developing the concept of STEM 2.0, a STEM strategy developed through the eyes of the employer and defining the skill sets needed for successful STEM talent in tomorrow’s new economy.

That’s why PepsiCo is the founding chair of the STEM Innovation Task force, a coalition of more than 35 industry, government, educator and NGO partners working cross functionally to develop and implement programs to help solve the STEM shortfall. And that’s why PepsiCo is so passionate about mentoring.

Now more than ever, we must identify and cultivate diverse and emerging STEM talent as employers continue to struggle to fill 26 million STEM-related jobs in the US with a limited supply of qualified candidates.

PepsiCo has worked tirelessly to attract minorities and women into STEM fields.

For example, PepsiCo is a sponsor of STEMconnector’s Million Women Mentor program (MWM), an effort to support women and girls interested in STEM fields. We hold the vice chair of the global MWM taskforce, which strives to secure mentorship for female STEM talent all around the world.

Additionally, for the past 20-plus years, in collaboration with the University of Illinois, we have been a leading sponsor of the Research Apprentice Program, which focuses on under-represented students. During this time the program enrolled 1,200 students— two-thirds women, two-thirds African-American, and one-fourth Hispanic. And more than one third of these students pursued graduate studies.

Further, in the US, in March 2014, the STEMconnector Innovation Task Force and PepsiCo piloted an event called “STEM Career Accelerator Day,” which offered a firsthand look at how STEM translates from the classroom to the workplace. Conducted simultaneously at corporate workplaces, on university campuses, and online, the event brought together 4,300 U.S. high school students. The students, which included females and minorities, received insights into jobs and STEM skills needed for these jobs. Along with mentoring by seasoned STEM professionals, students also participated in hands-on activities designed to bridge the gap between academic theory and commercial action.

To be sure, there is significant opportunity for females and minorities in the STEM fields.

  • Women fill close to 50% of all jobs in the U.S., but they hold less than 25% of STEM jobs.
  • Of 100 female bachelor students, 12 graduate within STEM fields – yet only 3 continue in STEM fields after 10 years.
  • In the US, 75% of all students are women and students of color, but only represent 45% of STEM degrees.

While more work needs to be done, we are heartened by the progress being made.

In 2015 PepsiCo will mobilize 100 mentors in the USA with a stated ambition to reach 1,000 globally in 2016 and beyond.

We believe our enterprise STEM is taking us to a new level—both domestically and globally.

Dr. Mehmood Khan, Executive Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer, PepsiCo.

Fundamentally, my job at PepsiCo is to mentor.  My goal is to create a framework in which our global team of R&D associates can flourish – by providing guidance and giving people the tools they need to succeed. Most importantly, it’s about fostering a team environment that is built on trust, collaboration and sharing in order to create solutions to problems conventional wisdom said were insoluble.  As a mentor, it’s an honor and privilege to work with so many dynamic and talented individuals.


Manufacturing Institute Empowers the Next Generation to Pursue STEM Careers

Print“We  all  have  a  role  to    play  in  ensuring  our    nation’s  competitiveness  through  our  commitment  to  manufacturing. We    must  empower    each  other  as  ambassadors  of  the  industry  we  love  so    we  can  inspire  the  next­-generation  of  talent  to  pursue    manufacturing  careers  and  encourage  current  female  talent  within    the  industry,” said Jennifer McNelly, president of The Manufacturing Institute.

Manufacturing faces a serious skills gap. Part of this gap is the underrepresentation of women in the industry. While women make up approximately 50% of the labor force, that number is only about 24% in the manufacturing labor force.

As part of the STEP Ahead initiative, the Women in Manufacturing STEP Awards honor women in the manufacturing industry who have demonstrated excellence and leadership in their careers and represent all levels of the manufacturing industry, from the factory-floor to the C-suite. STEP Ahead inspires next generation female leaders to pursue a career in manufacturing and showcases the amazing opportunities the manufacturing industry can offer.

On March 26, 2015, The Manufacturing Institute will honor 100 women and 30 Emerging Leaders at the STEP Awards in Washington, DC plans to mentor 1,000 girls and young women in STEM by 2016 through our partnership with the National Girls Collaborative Project (NGCP). Through this partnership we have encouraged our STEP Ahead Honorees to engage in NGCP’s FabFems Project is a national database of women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) professions who are inspiring role models for young women. This project gives our Honorees an opportunity to inspire young women who have similar interest but aren’t connected to adults who exemplify the STEM career pathway.

NAPE is Making Waves for Girls/Young Women in STEM

By Meagan Pollock, PhD, Director of Professional Development, NAPE

At NAPE, we believe every person is able to fulfill his or her potential through equal access to and equity in educational options that lead to the entire spectrum of career choices. Our sole mission is to build educators’ capacity to implement effective solutions for increasing student access, educational equity, and workforce diversity. We work with secondary schools and community colleges to increase the participation of underrepresented groups in pathways and programs that lead to high-tech, high-demand, high-wage jobs.

NAPE CEO Mimi Lufkin: “The persistent underrepresentation of women and girls in the majority of STEM disciplines remains a critical issue of our time. Although there is no silver bullet, we are able to address the known root causes with specific strategies that will shift the participation of underrepresented groups in high-demand, high-tech, high-wage jobs. Because the research clearly shows that role models matter and mentoring works, NAPE is proud to partner with the Million Women Mentors campaign as we continue to strive for access, equity, and diversity in 2015.”

Here’s how NAPE contributes to increasing the participation of women and girls in STEM and advocates for STEM role models and mentors along the way:

  • Micromessaging to Reach and Teach Every Student™ is a high-quality, research-based, educator professional development program to address gender- and culturally based implicit biases that occur in the classroom and that are manifested through “micromessages.” Through this professional development, we teach the importance of role models and mentors to build student STEM self-efficacy. In our past fiscal year, we delivered the Micromessaging curriculum to 950 educators in 12 states.
  • Program Improvement Process for Equity™ guides state and local efforts to improve access, equity, and diversity in nontraditional occupations and STEM fields. Through a five-step process, PIPE engages teams of administrators, teachers, and counselors in conducting a data-based gap analysis of student performance, participation, and pipeline, identifying root causes for the gaps, and developing an action plan based on research-based strategies proven to close the identified gaps, where one root cause and strategy is lack of and need for role models and mentors. In our past fiscal year, we trained 430 educators in 9 states to effect institutional change through PIPE.
  • STEM for Every Student workshops present an overview of STEM careers, introduce positive messages for talking with students and parents, and connect the messaging with tools, activities, and resources. Through these workshops, we often bring in a panel of STEM professionals to share their stories, we encourage participants to provide opportunities for students to role models and mentors, and we help schools and colleges connect to local and national networks of STEM volunteers. In our past fiscal year, we conducted STEM Career workshops for 180 educators and counselors.
  • STEM Career Toolkit is a research-based guide for counselors and educators on how to encourage every student to consider a future career in STEM. The toolkit provides an overview of STEM careers, introduces positive language for talking with students, and connects the effective messaging with practical take-away tools, activities, and resources. One strategy in the toolkit is finding diverse STEM role models for students. In our past fiscal year, we presented on the STEM Career Toolkit at two national conferences and distributed 456 STEM Career Toolkits in 23 states.
  • Professional Development Institute (PDI) is an annual national conference focused on access, equity, and diversity in education and the workforce. The PDI brings together researchers, practitioners, and professionals to share best practices in equity, build partnerships, and advocate for equity in education and workforce policy. Join us April 21-23, 2015, at the Westin in Alexandria, VA.
  • STEM Equity for Role Models is a 30-minute training video designed to equip STEM professionals to speak to students. This tool provides the most appropriate and effective STEM messaging for students and prepares role models to share their STEM story so that they can inspire the next generation of STEM innovators and world-changers.

If you would like to learn more about NAPE, including our professional development offerings, technical assistance and equity consulting services, annual conference, or our products, then contact us for more information.