There’s no way to sugar coat it—the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) talent funnel is currently losing women at all stages. Although women make up half of university graduates, they only represent 35% of STEM degree holders and 28% of the science and engineering workforce.
STEM gender gaps are particularly high in some of the fastest-growing and highest-paid jobs of the future, like computer science and engineering.
Why We Need Women in STEM
According to Forbes, “There is an urgent need to ensure that AI systems do not discriminate inappropriately against any individual or group. If only certain groups of people build the technology then it is highly likely that discrimination will happen, even if the discrimination is not intentional.”
We need to do better. Giving women equal opportunities to pursue and thrive in the STEM workforce is essential for building an innovative and inclusive future. Not only will it help narrow the gender pay gap, having a diverse STEM workforce also prevents biases in the products and services that organizations design. This is a viable solution to a stubborn and long standing problem in STEM career development.
Udacity’s Commitment to Women in STEM
As our partnerships with various Fortune 500 companies evolve, we’ve seen the deficit of women in STEM roles firsthand. Though many companies have taken steps to bridge this gap by hosting networking events and building more inclusive workplace cultures, we’re focusing on a more tangible initiative — equipping women with tech-forward skills for key STEM roles.
Therefore, to celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8, 2021, we partnered with some of our enterprise customers to nominate women in their respective organizations for free Nanodegree programs.
Building a Pipeline of Tech Talent
Udacity’s mission is to train the world’s workforce in careers of the future. As part of our Women in STEM initiative, over 350 women across 36 partner organizations were nominated and enrolled in the following Nanodegree programs:
- Business Analytics
- Programming for Data Science
- Intro to Programming
- Artificial Intelligence for Business Leaders
- Data Science for Business Leaders
In addition to creating a cohort of women upskilling to break into tech-forward roles in each organization, we also built a community across organizations in different industries ranging from defense and automotive to telecommunications. We organized meet-and-greets, Q&A sessions, and regular cohort meetings to engage and motivate our learners.
The Udacity Difference
Our Nanodegree programs aren’t “light” courses — after going through video lessons and quizzes, learners have to apply their new skills to complete challenging real-world projects. If they get stuck, our network of 1,400+ mentors is there to help unblock them.
They also receive personalized project feedback from Udacity reviewers so that they can further develop and demonstrate their skills.
“I was probably one of five women in my base, and a General asked for a comprehensive report with data coming from multiple sources. With my in-depth knowledge of SQL that I learned in my Nanodegree program, I was able to show off a bit to leadership by putting together a customizable query for the General to get all of the data he needed on a recurring basis. It felt awesome to be able to step up and do this, especially as a woman in a male-dominated environment.”
— Udacity Women In STEM learner
Our cohort of 350 women across 36 partner organizations will soon graduate from their respective Nanodegree programs, equipped with the digital skills to keep pace with emerging technologies.
To continue to empower these women, our partner organizations will then support their career growth and open doors for them to apply their skills in different STEM roles. Stay tuned for our learner success stories!
We will also be celebrating our learners and other women in STEM by hosting a virtual conference, STEM Forward with Women. Click here to join us and hear from women leaders and trailblazers at Fortune 500 companies about how they’ve forged a path for themselves in the STEM industry! Learn more about Udacity’s enterprise offerings or request a demo for your organization.