The Intel Foundation in Santa Clara, California, has announced grants totaling $1.25 million in support of efforts to increase the number of young women preparing for careers in science, technology, engineering, and math.
As part of its She Will Connect U.S. initiative, the foundation awarded grants to collaborative projects in Washington, Oregon, California, and Texas working to provide novel, interactive, and fun experiences that introduce middle school girls and their families to STEM fields. Organizations collaborating on projects include Women's Audio Mission and the Tech Museum of Innovation, whose WAM Presents Girls on the Mic at the Tech will give girls exposure to creative tech careers and musical instruments as an avenue to self-expression; Girl Scouts of Central Texas, the Austin Independent School District, and Del Valle Independent School District, whose Tech Girls project seeks to empower girls from underprivileged backgrounds to pursue postsecondary STEM opportunities; and Portland Opportunities Industrialization Center and Rosemary Anderson High School (POIC+RAHS) and the Boys and Girls Club of Portland Metropolitan Area (Regence Club), whose Tech Initiative for Low-income, Underserved Girls of Color in Portland project will encourage students to explore virtual reality, AI, and robotics through the lens of female empowerment.
While an estimated 1.4 million computing-related jobs are expected to be available nationwide in 2020, only 26 percent of the jobs within the sector are currently held by women.
"We want to help inspire young people and expand access to opportunities that will help them succeed using the power of technology," said Intel Foundation deputy director Gabriela A. Gonzalez. "Initiatives such as She Will Connect U.S. open doors for young women to explore educational and career paths that may have been unknown or felt out of reach. After all, diverse viewpoints make innovative technologies more accessible and relevant for everyone, everywhere."