There's no denying that the skills gap is going to be a serious problem in a few short years. Even with computer science degrees flying off the shelves from prestigious universities and coding bootcamps alike, the sheer amount of positions to fill is growing too fast to keep up. Fortunately, closing another gap could be the answer we've been looking for: the gender gap. And one organization known for empowering women is on the case.
Today, the Girl Scouts of USA announced their first-ever computer science program for middle and high school girls. Sponsored by cyber security and defense company Raytheon, the program will focus on educating girls from 6-12 grade in fields such as cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, robotics, and data science.
“We are excited to be working with Raytheon and tapping into its expertise in computer science and cybersecurity to develop this important new content for our middle and high school–age girls,” said Sylvia Acevedo, CEO of GSUSA. “Girl Scouts is a network of more than 60 million girls and women, and we serve girls from every residential zip code. We are the girl experts, and have been for 105 years. With Raytheon’s support, we will inspire millions of girls to explore STEM careers and realize their full potential.”
The necessity for these kinds of programs is growing on what feels like a daily basis. In addition to the thousands computer science jobs without qualified candidates hitting the market, girls continue to be dissuaded from entering the field due to discriminatory practices and a lack of opportunities. In fact, a study found that 74 percent of teen girls are interested in STEM fields, but numbers fade as they get older for the aforementioned reasons.
“The progress to diversify the STEM workforce needs to be accelerated,” said Thomas A. Kennedy, Chairman and CEO of Raytheon. “At a time when technology is transforming the way we live and work, we can – and should – show young women a clear path to taking an active role in this transformation. Working together, Raytheon and Girl Scouts will help girls build confidence to see themselves as the robotics engineers, data scientists and cybersecurity professionals who will create a better tomorrow.”
It's time to set aside petty squabbles and realize that the skills gap needs closing. Women and girls deserve a chance to shine in these fields and programs like this will provide them with the early interest and future infrastructure they need to be set up for success in the long run.
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