A new initiative has been launched to work with after school programmes to increase diversity and equity in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) in the US.
The Intel Foundation and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation have joined STEM Next Opportunity Fund and the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation to launch the Million Girls Moonshot.
The Million Girls Moonshot has a target to engage one million school-age girls in the US in STEM learning opportunities over the next five years.
Led by STEM Next Opportunity Fund, the Million Girls Moonshot will leverage funding from organisations including NASA, Qualcomm Incorporated, Technovation, National Girls Collaborative Project, CSforALL, JFF, Techbridge Girls, STEMconnector and Lyda Hill Philanthropies.
The initiative will provide grant funding and in-kind resources to Mott-funded afterschool networks in all 50 states to increase access to hands-on, immersive STEM learning experiences.
The Million Girls Moonshot will provide afterschool networks with technical assistance, educational resources, access to Intel’s She Will Connect partners and mentorship from STEM experts, including Intel employee volunteers.
Women make up half of the total US college-educated workforce, but are vastly underrepresented in STEM fields, comprising just 16% of engineers, according to a statement.
Black and Latina women have even less representation, at approximately 2% each. With economic projections pointing to a need for one million more STEM professionals than the country will produce at its current rate over the next decade, engaging and keeping more girls in STEM pursuits will be critically important for solving our nation’s most pressing challenges.
Dr. Penny Noyce, founding board chair, STEM Next Opportunity Fund, said: “When my father, Robert Noyce, and Gordon Moore founded Intel, they built upon the experiences of their youth, where they had opportunities to build, invent, engineer and experiment. These hands-on experiences gave them a sense of initiative, perseverance and a belief that they could create revolutionary new technologies.
“The Million Girls Moonshot will help girls from diverse backgrounds develop this same engineering mindset, and I’m thrilled at the way it continues the legacy of Intel’s founders and their passion for advancing STEM.”
Gabriela A. Gonzalez, deputy director, Intel Foundation, adds: “Every girl deserves access to high-quality education to achieve their dream career, regardless of their ZIP code or family’s socioeconomic status.
“The powerful synergies from collaborating with other organizations who share these values achieve a larger collective social impact to advance gender equity and parity in STEM fields, and more important, elevate girls’ future prospects for a better quality of life. Equipping youth with emerging technology skills in Artificial Intelligence, Quantum Computing, and Internet of Things is also critical for an inclusive and diverse future workforce. By joining this movement, we are expanding, scaling and sustaining the spirit of Intel’s She Will Connect signature initiative, which is something that no sole organization can do alone.”