Girls and women interested in pursuing careers in science, technology, engineering and math now have more support from the First State.
That’s because of Million Women Mentors, a program designed to keep interest growing in STEM careers — fields lacking female employees.
Women in STEM careers only make up about 23 percent of the workforce in the United States, according to the National Math and Science Initiative.
But nationwide, about 70 percent of jobs will require some form of STEM skills by 2018, according to Jennifer Kmiec, the state chair of the Million Women Mentors movement for Delaware.
“Without encouragement and support we find the girls drop out (of STEM subjects and activities) from middle school to high school, high school to college and even once they start in STEM careers without support and encouragement, there’s a drop-off,” Kmiec said.
That’s why there’s a need for Million Women Mentors, Kmiec said. The goal is to recruit 2,000 mentors — both males and females — and bring the STEM community together. The mentors will connect with groups of young women that need hands-on mentoring in STEM education.
“I like the fact that this program will bring us all under one umbrella, break down some silos and provide a ready clearing house for prospective mentors to find what they’re looking for,” Kmiec said.
Million Women Mentors is currently active in 36 other states.