CEDAR CITY, Utah, May 8, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Women Tech Council today launched their first STEM-activation event in southern Utah to provide high school girls across the region access to hands-on tech experiences and mentoring with industry experts to engage and inspire them to pursue science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.
The event, called SheTech Explorer Day and part of the broader SheTech program, was expanded to southern Utah in partnership with the Governor's Office of Economic Development (GOED) and the Department of Workforce Services through a grant from Talent Ready Utah. By inspiring and engaging girls across the state and especially in rural areas to pursue STEM, SheTech helps accomplish the state's goal of creating the skilled workforce needed to continue Utah's strong economic growth, especially in Silicon Slopes.
"Because women are a critical part of the technology economy, we want girls in all regions to realize the opportunities that STEM education and careers provide them," said Cydni Tetro, president of the Women Tech Council. "By expanding this program and ensuring that all girls across Utah have access to industry and mentoring regardless of where they live, we are helping to develop our economy and ensure the state's success."
Monday's SheTech Explorer Day event was done in partnership with Southern Utah University (SUU). More than 125 high school girls from throughout southern Utah participated to earn industry certifications, problem solve with mentors from national and regional companies and explore STEM careers through activities like robotics, coding, 3D printing and virtual reality. Through these tech experiences, opportunities to problem solve and present, and one-on-one mentoring with professionals from companies including Legend Solar, SkyWest Airlines, Dell-EMC, Ancestry and Adobe, students gained skills, confidence and inspiration to pursue STEM courses and careers.
"The SheTech expansion greatly benefits students in rural Utah," said Val Hale, executive director of GOED. "The Talent Ready Utah partnership allows us to train and inspire students by connecting them to high-demand, high-paying jobs. We are committed to extending Utah's economic success beyond the Wasatch Front."
"As a university committed to ensuring students are ready for the workforce, here at SUU we recognize the value of bringing industry and education together to create a stronger impact for students," said Dr. Shalini Kesar, associate professor of information systems at SUU. "Working with SheTech, we are bringing another opportunity to extend access to training and skills to girls by providing hands-on STEM activities conducted by industry, which helps them pursue degrees in this field and successfully launch into the workplace."
This year, other SheTech Explorer Days have been held at Utah Valley University and Weber State University. Additional future events will continue to expand the program's reach and move beyond Utah's borders into Colorado and Idaho. Research from previous events shows 93 percent of participating high school girls are interested in pursuing STEM careers after taking part in SheTech Explorer Day. By the end of the year, the SheTech program will have reached and impacted more than 10,000 high school girls to pursue STEM careers.
Beyond Explorer Day, SheTech provides participating high school girls continual engagement with STEM industry by helping them gain internships, learn about college scholarships and find courses that match their interests in their school and district. This continual integration takes SheTech beyond traditional programs that teach students skills by giving girls ongoing resources, support and mentoring to continue their path into STEM and succeed.
Students, parents or schools interested in getting involved with SheTech or participating in other Explorer Days should visit www.shetechexplorer.com.
About Women Tech Council
The Women Tech Council (WTC) is a national organization focused on the economic impact of women in driving high growth for Utah's technology sector through developing programs that propel the economic pipeline from K-12 to the C-suite. WTC offers mentoring, visibility, opportunities and networking to more than 10,000 women and men working in technology to create business environments focused on high performance, not diversity, where men and women can succeed. This propels individual careers and Utah's talent pipeline by ensuring a strong, diverse, and entrepreneurial technology workforce. For more information on Women Tech Council, visit www.womentechcouncil.org.
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SOURCE Western Governors University