Thursday, March 20, 2014

AT&T and Girl Scouts Team Up to Inspire Girls to Pursue STEM Careers

Penned by: Nicole Anderson, Executive Director of Philanthropy, AT&T and Anna Maria Chávez, CEO, Girl Scouts of the USA

What do the Girl Scouts of the USA and AT&T have in common? Well, we love technology, and we love to see girls succeed and grow into women who are leading the way in whatever career they choose. Girls are watching and they are incredibly savvy.  Today’s girls are digital natives who have the potential to lead us to new technological breakthroughs in the 21st century.  Unfortunately, even when girls start out interested in careers that involve science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), they often don’t pursue them after they graduate.

Generation STEM: What Girls Say about Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, a study conducted by The Girl Scouts Research Institute, found that 74 percent of girls — and an even higher percentages of African-American and Hispanic girls —say they’re interested in these very fields. However, 13 percent of these same girls who are interested in math and science in school say a STEM career is not their first choice.

So, where is the breakdown between the girls’ interest and action, particularly among those who are the most likely to drop out of high school? How can we help girls learn about the cool jobs they can get with STEM degrees and help them believe they can not only do these jobs, but succeed in them?

This is where AT&T and the Girl Scouts are working together, because there isn’t one easy answer.

Our successful collaboration encourages underserved high school girls to imagine a future STEM career by providing them with afterschool STEM mentoring activities. AT&T Aspire has made a $625,000 contribution that will support 800 girls, the majority of whom are at-risk of dropping out of high school, to participate in hands-on learning activities designed to educate and motivate them to pursue these areas of interest in college  and careers.

By teaming up local AT&T employees with Girl Scout councils across the U.S., including the Girl Scouts of Black Diamond Council, Girl Scouts of the Sierra Nevada, Girl Scouts of San Gorgonio and Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois, we are working together to spark girls’ interest in STEM courses and opening the door to new career options.

When AT&T hires new employees, we look for candidates with STEM degrees. Almost three-quarters (72%) of our recent student hires – including interns – begin their career in a technology centric area, including IT, Labs, Network Engineering/Ops, and Technology Sales. And we want more young women to graduate ready to step into these jobs and hit the ground running.

By combining the energy of AT&T and Girl Scouts, we know that we are preparing the next generation of women to be leaders in the 21st century workforce.

Many people think of the Girl Scouts selling cookies; we like to think of them as smart cookies – the ones that go on to be the doctors, engineers, and computer programmers of tomorrow!