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Opening Doors for High School Girls | Business

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Opening Doors for High School Girls

According to a report published by the National Center for Women & Information Technology, the number of women holding computer-related jobs peaked at 36% in 1991. It’s been in decline ever since. Considering how technology-dependent our society has become, that spells bad news. It’s especially concerning for an area filled with companies that deliver cutting edge products and services to the Federal government.

So how, then, do we turn this trend around and encourage young women to go into technical fields? Enter the Girls in Technology Mentor-Protégé program.

Girls in Technology helps high school girls develop skills needed to architect an academic and professional future in technology. It’s a volunteer organization that relies on the generosity of corporate sponsorships.

In fact, Booz Allen Hamilton sponsored the Spring 2011 program by providing mentors, facilities, and operating funds. “The contributions that women can make in the workforce is astonishing—we simply need to recognize and unleash their potential. Our support for this program embraces the opportunity to tap this potential and nurture the development of high school girls. This will deliver such meaningful value, not only in the form of workforce enrichment, but also the betterment of society,” states Senior Vice President, Susan Penfield.

The spring curriculum included entrepreneurship, how to craft a personal message (commonly referred to as an elevator pitch), and a hands-on technology fair. Time was also built into each session for small-group mentoring. Closing ceremonies were held on Wednesday night after the technology fair—which was way cool. Booz Allen Hamilton is doing some very interesting, progressive things.

And now for open disclosure: I’m a member of the Girls in Technology Steering Committee (a subcommittee of Women in Technology.) I’m proud to be part of a community that gives high school girls an advantage we didn’t have.

We demand so much of our young people. The competition to get into college is stiff and the girls appreciate every advantage they can gain. It’s incredibly rewarding to watch these young women acquire new skills and the confidence to interact in a professional environment that requires some public speaking. Yet, as volunteers and mentors, I think we gain more than the protégés. And in the end I believe we’ll be creating a more vibrant, more diverse workforce.

A heart-felt thank you goes to the mentors and Booz Allen Hamilton for your generosity. You’ve made a big difference in the lives our protégés.

By Marcia Moran

Greenbelt Deals