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Funds to boost women in tech careers

Lancaster's Stevens college snagthree-year grant to bring women into three top fields

Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology won a grant to help recruit more women into tech-related fields. - (Photo / Amy Spangler)

An influx of new funds is aimed at increasing the number of women in three high-demand career fields where they are underrepresented, officials at Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology said.

Officials with the Lancaster school announced Monday their institution has been awarded its first National Science Foundation grant, of $198,518, for a project entitled “Skilled Women Get STEM Jobs.”

Stevens leaders said in a news release that the three-year grant could play a role in “helping diversify the workforce” in the fields of: machine tool and computer aided manufacturing technology; electrical technology; and water and environmental technology.

“Skilled Women Get STEM Jobs” will be implemented over three years from September 2016 to August 2019 and will build a high-school-to-college pipeline to:

• Encourage women high school students to enroll in college programs that offer solid job prospects.

• Engage the enrolled students through an informal group mentoring program and internship opportunities.

• And ease their entry into the workforce by ensuring their familiarity with industries and job opportunities.

Stevens will use the grant to partner with 11 high schools in Lancaster and York counties, raising awareness among their female juniors and seniors about well-paying jobs for technicians in machine tool and computer-aided manufacturing, the electrical industry (commercial and residential), and the water and environmental technology field.

Men are 2.2 times more likely to work in STEM occupations than are women, according to reports.

Katie Surra, Stevens College’s water and environmental technology instructor, will lead the project, assisted by instructors Brian Kochan and Alex Surra as well as Nanette Marcum-Dietrich of Millersville University.

David O'Connor
Dave O'Connor covers York County, manufacturing, higher education, nonprofits, and workforce development. Have a tip or question for him? Email him at doconnor@cpbj.com.

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