Addressing the Lack of Diversity in STEM Careers
Minorities continue to face challenges in pursuing STEM careers due to a lack of access to resources and institutional biases. Early education programs often fail to expose them to technology career paths or inspire a love for technology. The lack of role models within their circles discourages them from pursuing STEM careers and has created a pressing need for addressing educational disparities in STEM for underserved youth.
Programs like Challenges and Opportunities for Minorities in STEM Jobs and All-In STEM, founded by Dr. Kenneth Gibbs Jr. and Dr. Ciara Sivels exist with the purpose of addressing educational disparities in STEM for Underserved Youth. The program offers hands-on experience and technical knowledge to students, as well as the opportunity to work in a STEM field of their interest. Olwyn DePutron, the Director of Step IT Up America at UST, another similar program, shares their opinion about providing a path for underrepresented minorities to enter and thrive in STEM careers, where a more diverse and inclusive future for the industry can be created.
“In today’s workplace, there’s still a limited number of minorities pursuing STEM careers. The reasons behind this falls into a few buckets. One reason is that in the early education age, there are not a lot of programs available within the schools minorities attend to expose them to the different technology career paths or even to help them to build a love for things technology-wise in addition to the early education.
The familiar circles or relationship circles that minorities grow up in and the individuals they encounter often have jobs outside of technology. There’s often not a role model who would encourage them to pursue STEM careers or to pursue them to build skill sets for STEM careers.
Lastly, the opportunities afforded to them are often done so without the education, without the mentorship, and without guidance. They would not be directed to STEM fields or STEM careers. The Step Up program gives them the education, it gives them the mentorship, and it also gives them an opportunity, an open door to start off that career in technology.
The program allows them to pursue a passion that they may have for technology and train them up in a skillset. From the beginning, all the way to giving them hands-on experience, technical knowledge, and an opportunity to work in a field or in a specific role where they can enhance and build upon the skillset that they learned in the classroom.
In addition, they’re mentored not only by a coach but also a mentor who is within the client organization. Lastly, the client in partnership with us affords them an opportunity to get a role within that organization and continue to build up on their skillset and continue to move forward in a technology field of their interest.”
Article by Galina Mikova.
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