STEM Beats - diversity

Supporting STEM Education Will Help Bring More Diversity to Financial Services

September 9, 2016

MIchael Bodson, President & CEO at DTCCSummer is unofficially over and kids are back in school. This time of year always gets me thinking about the past and my own children preparing to start the new semester.

Back then, we talked a lot about the three Rs – reading, 'riting and 'rithmetic. Of course, a lot has changed over time. Most kids today probably know the three R's as "Reduce, Recycle and Reuse." Maybe the world used to be a simpler place, but to succeed in today's technology-based economy, young people need to do more than master the basics. They need to focus on a new acronym – STEM.

Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) have always been important, but as they become increasingly crucial to a growing variety of activities, schools are finding it more difficult to meet these educational needs alone. This is where business is stepping in to help fill the gap.

As we all work to become better corporate citizens, and as Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) becomes embedded in companies around the globe, there is no better way to channel this effort than toward improving STEM education.

For many businesses, and particularly for those of us in financial services, this is not simply an altruistic venture; we are investing in our future. The financial system today relies on highly sophisticated information technology to accomplish a spectrum of tasks from routine to major. For example, high frequency traders can execute orders in a millionth of a second – faster than a blink of the eye – while mathematicians and physicists are applying quantitative analysis to develop trading and risk management programs.

This evolution will continue as newer and faster technologies come to market in the years ahead. In fact, industry research says that jobs in banking and finance requiring STEM skills will increase by 21 percent in the next 10 years while all other jobs will increase only 18 percent. In other words, strong competencies in STEM will be essential for a career in banking and finance.

Change the Equation (CTEq), a coalition of corporate members leading a movement to ensure that every young person is STEM literate, points to the opportunity of expanding the STEM talent pool in the U.S. with promising programs and strategies that are successfully drawing girls and young people from diverse populations to the fields. Business will play a key role in ensuring such programs attain the necessary scale. For financial services, the focus on STEM education also creates opportunities for the industry to address the historic under-representation of women, Blacks and Hispanics.

According to data from CTEq, three occupations account for almost half of the industry's total projected job growth over the next decade, all of which will require substantial math or technology skills:

  • Personal financial advisors will grow by 45,000, while today's representation is 28 percent female and 11.5 percent Black/Hispanic.
  • Securities, commodities, and financial service agents will grow by 21,000, while today's representation is 30 percent female and 14.3 percent Black/Hispanic.
  • Financial analysts positions will grow by 20,000, while today's representation is 35 percent female and 14.4 percent Black/Hispanic.

Clearly, STEM will be among the most in-demand skills that employers will be seeking. At my own company, recruiting and retaining candidates with strong STEM competencies will be essential for us to continue to grow and expand our role supporting the industry. In addition, attracting diverse candidates will enable us to better understand the needs of our global client base and foster new ideas and different ways of thinking about how to tackle complex challenges in the future.

Unfortunately, the most recent statistics from the National Science Foundation show women comprise only one-third of STEM graduate students while Black and Hispanic students combined account for less than 10 percent.

This is why we have joined with many our colleagues across the industry to make promoting STEM education a key focus of our CSR efforts. Working with several groups in this field, such as Change the Equation, we are proud to join with our colleagues in business to help students at all levels and across all demographics gain the skills and competencies they will need to succeed in the future.

Corporations can also use their CSR volunteer efforts to begin to address the opportunity gaps for students who have unequal access to qualified teachers and STEM resources. For example, research has found that across the U.S. there are millions of Black and Hispanic students who would enroll in STEM programs after school if only they could. Is there not a more perfect opportunity for volunteers to contribute their expertise?

By collaborating with schools, communities and STEM education groups, business can support this crucial education and instill a life-long love of learning in all young people while preparing the workforce of tomorrow. 

Mike Bodson is the President and CEO at DTCC. This article originally appeared on LinkedIn Pulse on September 8, 2016 and was reprinted with permission from DTCC.

Tags: guest blog, diversity

An Untapped Market for STEM Workers

March 3, 2016

Photo Credit to The Arc of VAThere is talk often of a nationwide shortage of STEM workers. But historically, STEM fields also faced challenges representing our country’s diversity when it comes to women, African-Americans, Hispanics, and people with disabilities. Tackling two problems with one solution, Specialisterne USA hopes to secure 100,000 future jobs for special needs STEM workers in the U.S.

Specialisterne is a global organization dedicated to helping people with autism and other similar abilities succeed after high school. They create job opportunities for employees with autism through partnerships with tech companies ready to accept the unique skills that those employees bring. Though it started in Denmark, the model has worked successfully throughout Europe. One such partnership is with German software company SAP. The SAP chief diversity and inclusion officer, Anka Wittenberg, argued in SAP News that the heightened visual perception of people with autism can make them useful software testers.

With the interest of diversifying the workforce for competitive advantage, SAP alongside Specialisterne worked on an initiative ensuring one percent of SAP’s global jobs will be filled with workers with autism by 2020.

Is it time that more U.S. companies take notice of what people with special needs can offer STEM? Specialisterne USA certainly thinks so. Some companies have gotten a head start. Last April, Microsoft and Specialisterne launched a pilot program to hire people with autism for full-time positions.

Many might follow in Microsoft’s footsteps now that Specialisterne USA is tapping into The Arc’s network. The model Specialisterne uses to employ people with autism includes job training for individuals with autism, coaching and mentoring for both employers and employees, and working with employers on making their recruitment efforts more inclusive. Specialisterne USA plans to train participating chapters of The Arc with the same methods that worked overseas.

The Arc provides support, services, and advocacy for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities across the nation.

Photo Credit to CNN Money

 “We consider this [partnership with The Arc] a very important step on our journey to enable 100,000 jobs in the USA,” said Thorkil Sonne, president of Specialisterne USA. “The Arc is a perfect partner as the largest organization in the US working with people with disabilities and we have already had a very positive experience working with the New York chapter of The Arc.”

If Specialisterne USA is successful, it will be the responsibility of schools like STEM3 Academy in Los Angeles, California to continue producing potential STEM workers out of children with special needs.

All of the students at STEM3 Academy enroll with challenges that affect their learning and social abilities, like autism-spectrum disorder, Asperger's and ADHD. But the school concentrates on these students’ academic strengths—STEM subjects like math and science.

"There's a huge demand for qualified workers in STEM. On the other hand, there's a huge supply of individuals with special needs who are either unemployed or underemployed," said Dr. Ellis Crasnow to LRP Publications, director of the STEM3 Academy.  So for Crasnow also, training students who have disabilities to fill STEM jobs just makes sense.

Photo credits go to (1) The Arc of Virginia and (2) CNN Money.

Tags: jobs & workforce, diversity, special needs

Guest Blog: Danielle Brown, Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer, Intel Corporation

February 26, 2016

Intel Progresses Toward Inclusive Future

Danielle Brown, Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer for Intel Corporation

National Engineers Week is upon us, and it is a great time to raise awareness and interest in engineering and technology careers — and the possibilities that they offer.

At Intel, technology and engineering are part of our DNA and we believe a diverse engineering workforce is critical to driving continued innovation and growth in our industry. To achieve our industry’s true potential, we must strive to build and continually foster a culture that is broadly representative and inclusive of all kinds of diversity, including, but not limited to, gender and ethnicity. Only through a collective and unified effort will we be able to effectively accomplish this.

Earlier this month, Intel released the 2015 Diversity & Inclusion Report that outlines our progress toward achieving a goal to achieve full representation in our U.S. workforce by 2020, and provides an update on our investments to support Diversity & Inclusion in our workforce and our industry at large. While we exceeded our annual hiring goal, achieved our overall retention goal, and achieved 100 percent gender pay parity across U.S. job types and job levels, we still have a great deal of work and opportunity ahead of us.

A key component of our strategy is building and strengthening the pipeline of women and underrepresented minorities who are interested in pursuing technology and engineering careers. As part of our $300 million commitment to support diversity and inclusion in technology, we have invested in numerous pipeline programs and partnerships focused on attracting a more diverse pool of candidates to the technology industry. Through a multi-pronged approach of education initiatives, financial assistance and internship and job opportunities that offer concrete work experience and an opportunity to develop technical skills, Intel is paving the way for people to enter and succeed in tech careers like engineering and computer science.

These programs include an investment of $5 million in the Oakland Unified School District over the next five years to implement a comprehensive, education transformation solution, apartnership with the Science Foundation of Arizona and the Navajo Nation to implement a comprehensive education transformation at three Arizona high schools, the Latinos in Technology Scholarship Initiative that provides $3.75 million in scholarships to Latino college students, and an investment of $5 million in a Georgia Institute of Technology program designed to build a pipeline of diverse engineers.

This week, we are thrilled to announce a new partnership with San Francisco-based CODE2040.

As part of the initiative, Intel is investing $1.3 million over the course of three years to support CODE2040’s Fellows and Technical Application Prep (TAP) Programs, which aim to inspire and support more women and underrepresented minorities to earn technical degrees. The effort aims to bridge the gap between education and employment through providing mentoring, resume prep and internship guidance. In 2016 and 2017, Intel will host a total of 60 student interns from the CODE2040 Fellows Program at its Santa Clara campus in order to provide an immersive experience and one-on-one mentorship with our top engineers. In support of the CODE2040 TAP Program, Intel will also host students for part of the five day Tech Trek, which will launch this year with support from Intel.

The skills of the workforce of the future will depend as much on curiosity, creation and design as technical aptitude. To encourage girls’ curiosity and interest in STEM, we are excited to embark on another new partnership with fashion designer Rebecca Minkoff. This partnership will include a series of activities in 2016 that will include college campus visits, design ideation camps and hackathons designed to connect these young women to role models and career opportunities in STEM. By constructing events that highlight the creative opportunities that exist in technology, Intel and Rebecca Minkoff are working to expand the pipeline of future female engineers. For example, earlier this week, Rebecca Minkoff and Sandra Lopez from Intel’s New Devices Group hosted a Reddit AMA where they discussed how they see technology driving innovation in fashion, and the creative opportunities for women in technology.

At Oakland Unified School District, we are launching our Intel ambassadors’ mentoring program for students who have selected STEM education pathways. We feel that we can positively impact the school district’s retention rate by engaging students in services such as mentoring. And for the first time in Intel’s history, we will host OUSD students at the Intel Education Services Corps’ three-week immersive experience in the U.S. this summer. Employees across the world will converge in Oakland to meet with OUSD students and show them one-on-one about the professional opportunities that await them in computer science.

National Engineers Week presents a special time to shine a spotlight on an exciting, evolving field that is growing exponentially more transformative and significant every day. Our programs and investments aim to create awareness and opportunity for students, to build the pipeline of talent for the future of our industry. At Intel, our passion for engineering extends year-round as we remain committed to creating the tools, resources and programs that will continue to attract women and underrepresented minorities to the exciting possibilities of a career in technology and engineering.

Danielle Brown is Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer at Intel Corporation. This blog also appeared on the Intel website on February 24, 2016.

Tags: diversity, minorities, engineering, guest blog, women & girls