IRVINE, Calif. (August 5, 2015) Although STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) jobs comprise a growing share of total jobs in Orange County, the region faces a pervasive and increasing shortfall of STEM educated workers. The gender gap in STEM is also increasing at an alarming rate with females filling only 24% of STEM jobs nationally. With male students three times more likely than female students to be interested in pursuing a college major or career in STEM, there is broad interest in changing the stats to ensure a future with the best and brightest from both genders contributing to STEM innovation.
Together with Girl Scouts of Orange County, nine OC companies have stepped up to form a “STEM Consortium” aimed at inspiring girls to embrace STEM education. Companies comprising this transformational collaboration include:
·Kaiser Permanente Orange County
First up for the STEM Consortium is the creation of Orange County’s first ever Girl Scout badge that will provide girls new opportunities to experience the power – and fun – of STEM. Designed to reach girls with varying interests, including those who may not initially be interested in STEM, the new badge will target Girl Scout Cadettes in grades 6-8. Middle school is the age when many girls form lasting opinions, positive or negative, about STEM subjects and skills. Badge experiences that the STEM Consortium is exploring for girls include music playlist timing, the chemistry of nail polish, baseball physics, and sandcastle engineering among others.
“We know that STEM skills like problem solving and critical thinking are vital for all girls, no matter what career path they choose,” said Nancy Nygren, CEO of Girl Scouts of Orange County. “We also know that girls need early exposure to STEM in ways they can relate to– and they need help seeing how STEM skills apply to their daily lives. As the expert in girl development, Girl Scouts is proud to join leading STEM companies across Orange County in making STEM accessible, relatable, and fun for our community’s girls.”
In addition to working with Girl Scouts to develop the criteria and activities required to earn the badge, participating companies will offer unique hands-on experiences to local Girl Scouts and encourage their employees to share their STEM expertise with troops across Orange County.
Broadcom hosted the first meeting earlier this year to introduce STEM companies across Orange County to this innovative collaboration and was the first company to sign on.
“Broadcom and the Broadcom Foundation are proud to partner with Girl Scouts and STEM companies across Orange County to inspire a new generation of STEM leaders,” said Paula Golden, President and Executive Director of Broadcom Foundation and Director of Broadcom Community Affairs. “We are answering the call for more women to pursue STEM careers where the demand for their intellectual talent, collaborative skills and innate creativity is high. And the idea of a STEM badge is both exciting and innovative.”
Girl Scouts of Orange County’s new STEM badge will be introduced to local Girl Scouts in August 2015.
For more information on the Girl Scout of Orange County, visit www.GirlScoutsOC.org.