Today, 80% of the fastest-growing occupations require Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) skills.
It is tempting to immediately suggest that all students should start learning computer coding or perhaps advanced calculus, or how to work alongside artificial intelligence.
However, the education sector has been learning that hard skills are not developed only through study, but rather through relationships in which students can find encouragement, inspiration, and opportunities for growth. Coursework alone is not enough for academic, career, and civic success.
This need for both technical skill and relational support is particularly true for women and girls in STEM. Women are 50% of the workforce, yet only 24% of the STEM workforce. Of those, nearly 50% of women drop out of their STEM careers in the first 10 years. Evidence suggests that mentoring can be a powerful solution to helping girls and women choose, persist and succeed in STEM programs and careers. For example, a recent study shows that women are more likely to continue to pursue a degree in engineering if they have a female mentor.
On October 24, MENTOR announced a new partnership with Million Women Mentors (MWM), an initiative of STEMconnector. Million Women Mentors is a national movement with the goal of providing more mentoring relationships to girls and women in the areas of STEM. MWM recently reached 2 million pledges to mentor and has celebrated 1 million completed mentor relationships. MWM connects companies and corporations across the nation to girl-serving mentee organizations to provide face-to-face and online mentoring opportunities for their employees.
The partnership with MENTOR will exponentially increase the number of organizations currently served by MWM, while also streamlining the onboarding process and user experience for corporate leaders. With a focus on exposing girls to mentors in STEM careers, the MWM and MENTOR partnership builds on each organizations’ existing resources to ensure that girls know that STEM careers are an option for them.
As MENTOR CEO, David Shapiro, shared at the MWM Summit, “Mentors expose mentees to what’s possible and help them believe it’s possible for them.”