As the technology sector continues to grow in Silicon Slopes, Salt Lake City, and worldwide, so does the demand for skilled, qualified workers to fill the multiplying number of jobs in these booming companies. Engaging girls at early ages, starting in K-12, will help increase the quantity and quality of students entering college to study STEM fields, expanding the state’s talent pipeline and economy.
Enter the Women Tech Council, a national organization headquartered in Utah. Organizers saw the need and created SheTech in 2014.
SheTech is a STEM activation and engagement platform for girls. Girls gain exposure to technology, individually create using technology, meet mentors, learn about careers in STEM fields, receive a certification and gain access to internships and scholarships. The flagship programs are:
- Explorer Day – April 9, 2019 at the Mountain America Expo Center (previously the South Towne Expo Center). High school girls will learn from more than 200 tech companies what STEM careers are like through hands-on activities like robotics, coding, diamond cutting, animation, DNA and genetics testing.
- TechArt Hour of Code is a beginning coding module to introduce students to code. This module not only shows them how instructions impact code but shows them how their code creates an output and how all outputs are used together.
Because the programs have been so successful, organizers need more mentors to get involved. This year they are expecting around 4,000 girls for Explorer Day and over 3,500 are involved in Hour of Code.
Mentors can be both men and women who work in STEM related fields, at a tech company, or enrolled in STEM programs at a university. More than 200 of Utah’s leading technology companies are volunteering time and resources, including: Adobe, AT&T, Ancestry, Vivint Smart Home, Dell EMC, Ivanti, and Dealertrack.
Participants learn skills and interact with mentors to help inspire them to pursue the tech field by showing them successful role models. It changes their perception of these careers and inspires them to pursue fields they previously thought were unattainable.
Women Tech Council organizers are excited to report that they are seeing results from their efforts in organizing SheTech. Colleges in Utah and beyond are reporting mentions of SheTech on applications by young women who are going into STEM fields.
As a community, we must get involved and maintain our position as a national tech leader. Salt Lake City continues to receive high rankings from numerous publications and outlets for our innovation and emerging hub for the tech industry. There is a need to train, develop, and retain the tech talent to fill the jobs coming online continually in that industry. SheTech is one way to make that happen.
Registration is free for SheTech 2019. For more information go to: http://shetechexplorer.com/
Learn how you can become a partner. Visit: http://www.womentechcouncil.com/industry-partners/become-a-partner/
Note: Blog originally published in January 2018 and has been updated with 2019 event details