As the job landscape shifts during these uncertain times, it is more crucial than ever to inspire women to pursue a STEM education and career. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that women accounted for more than half of the job losses in the US in 2020, most of which were in retail or hospitality.
So, how do we support and educate the next generation of women looking for a sustainable job or career? It starts with a STEM mentorship.
After creating the Launchpad Project in 2019, Tundra set out to accomplish two main goals:
- Offer a safe place for young women to be mentored and network with accomplished women in STEM.
- Offer scholarships to these aspiring women that will go toward their STEM education.
We believe that starting the conversation early, say in elementary school or high school, might encourage young women to pursue STEM education, lifting any inhibitions that might cause them to shy away from some of the world’s fastest growing industries. Going from college or university into a STEM career, however, can have its own challenges. While women account for over half of the college-educated workforce in the United States, women made up only 29% of those employed in STEM occupations in 2017/2018.
Despite the pandemic, the STEM industries continue to grow, increasing jobs month-over-month as companies begin full digital transformations or double down on research to improve healthcare efforts. STEM is thriving, but women are still severely underrepresented.
As a staffing and recruiting firm, we believe the power of our professional networks can inspire students to pursue a STEM education and career post-graduation by connecting them to accomplished mentors.
In 2019 we hosted our first live Women in STEM event featuring panel discussions and one-on-one breakout sessions with mentors across most STEM disciplines. After hundreds of attendees expressed a need for more mentorship events, we realized the pandemic could not stop us from keeping the conversation going, so we took the event and scholarships online via Zoom in 2020.
If we really want to affect change in STEM, we must encourage diversity of thought and ask tough questions like “How can men become allies for women in the workplace?” or “How did you overcome obstacles to achieve great things in your career?” These questions and more are all topics that arose during our events to help young women understand that, while STEM is a competitive landscape, they now have a network that will support them through their education and beyond.
Since 2019 we’ve dedicated thousands of dollars to scholarships and initiatives that support diversity in STEM. We will continue to help students reach their career goals, empowering them to reach out and seize opportunities in these fields in the hopes that one day we can hire them into their next opportunity.