Friday, August 3, 2012

AT&T Builds the "Workforce of Tomorrow" With Texas Girl Scouts

"I’ll be honest: When I think Girl Scouts, I think cookies and camping," says reporter Jeff Bounds in the Dallas Business Journal.

"Yes, those are elements of the experience of being a Girl Scout," Bounds states. "But on Tuesday morning, 125 Girl Scout Cadettes — those ages 11 to 13 — are getting lessons in being entrepreneurs, courtesy of Dallas-based AT&T Inc."

The Dallas telecom carrier is hosting the girls at its Plano Foundry, where the youngsters are kicking off work on their entrepreneur badges.

During the two-hour affair, the cadettes will extract DNA from bananas, interact with something called Vgo the Robot, and chat with AT&T execs and entrepreneurs alike about the world of business.

For AT&T, “it’s about building the workforce of tomorrow,” said Cathy Coughlin, senior executive vice president and global marketing officer at AT&T.

“The Girl Scouts … is a tremendous pipeline organization for us to support in developing the leaders of tomorrow.”

Building leadership skills in girls is critical, according to people associated with the event.

Some “61 percent of girls are deeply ambivalent about leadership … or say it’s not important,” said Ashley Crowe, director of Girl Scout Leadership Experience at the organization’s Northeast Texas base in Dallas. “Only one in five girls believes they have what it takes to be a leader.”

The Girls Scouts, she added, “is about building leadership.”

As if that weren’t enough, the Girl Scouts event is also aimed at keeping the youngsters interested in the so-called “STEM” fields: science, technology, engineering and math.

“Girls lose interest around the seventh or eighth grade” in those fields, said Coughlin, who with AT&T, is the honorary chair for the Girl Scouts 100th anniversary in North Texas. “We want women to participate in the growing field of STEM. We feel it’s important that women be a part of that, and be part of AT&T as well.”