Bringing STEM Education to Girls across the Globe — from Ohio to Hungary
Thanks to a $250,000 grant, AAUW will expand our successful STEM programs for girls to new sites in Székesfehérvár, Hungary, and Barberton, Ohio, where Alcoa has operations. Over the next two years, the collaboration will give hundreds of middle school girls the chance to participate in fun, experiential STEM programs that demonstrate the opportunities and benefits for women in these fields.
Both Székesfehérvár and Barberton are home to STEM career opportunities for their residents but, without involving women and girls, there aren’t enough skilled workers in the community to fill those jobs. That’s where AAUW comes in. As part of our efforts to plug the leaky STEM pipeline and prepare girls to pursue meaningful, rewarding careers, AAUW and Alcoa Foundation will invest in the future of these two communities and the people who live there.
Across the globe, women are underrepresented in STEM fields. Women hold nearly half of all jobs in the United States but fewer than 25 percent of STEM jobs. STEM careers offer women the opportunity to engage in some of the most exciting fields of discovery and technological innovation. Increasing opportunities for women in these fields is an important step toward realizing greater economic success and equality for women across the board.
According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, the availability of jobs that require a STEM background will grow by 17 percent over the next 10 years. According to the National Science Foundation, women in Hungary earned approximately 1,200 university degrees in engineering in 2009, accounting for 36.2 percent of the engineering degrees conferred there that year. Hungary-based manufacturers attest that, despite a serious need for skilled workers in technical jobs, the available workforce does not have the training to fill them. Preparing more women to enter these fields is important to these companies and will be necessary to the economic future of the region.
To address local workforce needs in Barberton and Székesfehérvár, AAUW will customize our programs to engage girls in STEM fields with input from the Alcoa facilities in these communities. This exciting collaboration will let us make a real, tangible impact on the lives of women and girls in two continents, and we’re thrilled to get started.