"It really gave me a confidence booster and I learned about my new opportunities in I.T." - Student
MISSION: The mission for FUTURE | Women in I.T. is to provide an engaging learning experience designed to build confidence, identify skills for an I.T. career, and inspire young girls to learn more about technology, while reducing the misconception that "Technology is not for me."
BACKGROUND: According to the U.S. Department of Labor, since 1984, the percentage of female computer science graduates has dropped from 37% to 12%, and while women make up more than half of the U.S. workforce they hold just 25% of the jobs in technical or computing fields. Furthermore, by 2020 the Information Technology (I.T.) sector will add nearly 1.4 million job openings in the United States compared to a projection of only 400,000 computer science students. The gap indicates that more than two-thirds of I.T. jobs could go unfilled.
As a response to some of these startling trends Yolande Piazza, Citi's Fin Tech Chief Executive Officer, gathered a group of passionate Citi volunteers and founded the FUTURE | Women in I.T. Program. The program kicked off in March 2014 and has reached more than 30,000 female students across the United States. Citi now partners with other corporations to deliver the presentations across the U.S.
EXPERIENCE: The FUTURE | Women in I.T. program consists of a 90 minute session geared towards middle and high school students that includes a presentation, videos and games. The curriculum is designed to inspire female students to consider careers in technology and reduce the misconception that "I.T. is not for me". Female technologit presentors cover facts about women in technology, types of available roles, inspirational personal stories and information about the benefits that a technology career can provide.
The goal of the experience is to show students the career possibilities in technology and link their interests to various roles offered within the field. Students complete web-based assessments before to help identify activities that interest them. The course then relates those skills and interests to careers such as project management, computer programming and graphic design. Each role description includes background on the average salaries and typical educational requirements.
RESULTS: We are happy to report that the program is achieving its goals. Results show that student interest in pursuing I.T. careers has increased to 46% amongst middle school students (up from 25%). Those not interested in learning more about technology dropped from 36% to 10%.