Girl Scouts of the USA is gearing up to kick off a pilot program in early 2018 designed to encourage young women’s interest in science, technology, engineering and math to ultimately create a more diversified workforce in healthcare as well as other industries.
The Girls Scouts said its national computer science program aim to prepare girls in grades 6-12 to pursue careers in fields such as cybersecurity, healthcare information technology, artificial intelligence, robotics and data science.
Coincidentally, the social network LinkedIn published research data about emerging IT careers this week ranking machine learning engineers and data scientists among the fastest-growing — and its data suggested that professionals with those skills will be among the most coveted in the future workforce.
The Girl Scout Research Institute's own Generation STEM report, meanwhile, found that 74 percent of teen girls are interested in STEM fields and subjects. But that interest tends to fade because they’re not typically exposed to STEM in ways that inspire their career ambition.
"Progress to diversify the STEM workforce needs to be accelerated," Raytheon CEO Thomas Kennedy, said in a statement. Raytheon is a partner with Girl Scouts on the STEM initiative. "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.”
The collaboration will specifically support the creation of new age-appropriate content and foundational STEM experiences for middle and high school girls through the "Think Like a Programmer” initiative.
Participants will learn key concepts of computer science and complete problem-solving activities, while building essential leadership skills.
Phase one of the new national computer science program for middle and high school girls will be run as a pilot in select geographies in early 2018, with full nationwide implementation planned to begin in the fall of 2018, the Girl Scouts said.