Block.one Welcomes TechGirls to its Blacksburg Office
No one disputes the transformative power of digital on the way businesses operate and communities communicate. As the world becomes more interconnected by technology, it’s also no surprise that the information technology sector is expected to outpace the growth of all other industries, with an anticipated growth of 13 percent from 2016 to 2026 and an additional 557,100 new jobs projected to be created just in the United States.
Less encouraging is the fact that the IT industry remains stubbornly non-diverse, particularly in gender. In 1990, women represented 32% of the computer science workforce; today, they only make up 25%.
The gender gap in the field of science, technology, engineering and math is evident, whether in developed countries like America, and is even more starkly present in emerging nations. One solution is to provide programs that encourage young women to study these STEM subjects, while providing exposure to companies that lead the sectors.
TechGirls, an initiative of the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, connects and supports the next generation of women leaders in STEM.
Since 2012, TechGirls has trained and mentored 186 teenage girls, ages 15-17 from Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestinian Territories and Tunisia. This year, the program expands to Central Asia: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
On July 26, Block.one will have the privilege of welcoming six of this year’s summer TechGirls participants to its Blacksburg, Virginia office as part of the program’s job shadowing day.
From an introductory crash course on blockchain, to the differences required for mobile application development for iOS and Android software, to the attention to detail required from UX designers to ensure that the user experience is seamless and stirs emotions, the six young visitors will participate in seminars to deepen their understanding of the IT industry.
Block.one’s Chief Information Security Officer Eddie Schwartz will lead an exploration of cybersecurity. The girls will also hear from Tara Tritt, a web developer for Block.one, who will share her personal experiences about the importance of mentorship and other resources that helped her during her early career days, and the advice she would give to young women looking to pursue a career within the industry.
“Encouraging young girls to explore STEM careers is not about convincing them that we need more women in these respective fields but rather, that they’re just as capable as the young men entering the workforce,” said Tritt. “Programs like TechGirls illustrates to these women that we believe in their abilities and encourage them to cultivate the skill sets necessary to excel in STEM careers.”
While programs like TechGirls are gaining popularity, there is also an important role to be played by companies and industry leaders in STEM, to provide practical knowledge on how to develop a career in science, technology or mathematics.
Growing the pipeline of future female STEM talent is critical, says Block.one’s Chief People Officer James Mendes. “Initiatives like TechGirls encourage young women to pursue careers in science and technology, while showcasing the endless possibilities within the industry. I’m excited that Block.one will be hosting some of this year’s attendees at our Blacksburg office while providing them a glimpse into all of the wonderful things our talented engineers, designers, and executives get to do on a daily basis.”
As more economies harness the power of technology and the transformative nature of digital infrastructure, demand for workers skilled in science and technology will only grow. In many countries, women remain the untapped resource to help fill these jobs of the future. However, the recruitment of young women onto these career paths needs to start long before they arrive on university campuses.
Companies that partner with programs to open up the potential of STEM careers to girls can be an effective force for good to not just meet their own resource needs, but to make a difference in narrowing the gender gap in science, technology and math.
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