AAUW to Receive $250,000 Grant for STEM Programming from Alcoa Foundation

February 19, 2014


Media Contacts:
Lisa Goodnight
, goodnightl@aauw.org

Suzanne van de Raadt, suzanne.vanderaadt@alcoa.com


Organization announces new collaboration to invest in girls and communities

WASHINGTON – The American Association of University Women (AAUW) will receive a $250,000 grant from Alcoa Foundation to address the global gender gap in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) workforce. With this funding, AAUW will expand its successful STEM education programs for girls to new sites where Alcoa has operations: Székesfehérvár, Hungary, and Barberton, Ohio, in the United States. Over the next two years, this 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.

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. The U.S. Department of Commerce reports that jobs requiring 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.

STEM careers offer women the opportunity to engage in some of the most exciting realms 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.

“Alcoa Foundation’s commitment to increasing girls’ and women’s participation in STEM fields at all job levels is an outstanding example of how thoughtful engagement can advance corporate interests and benefit local communities. Thanks to Alcoa Foundation, we will be able to make real change on two continents by encouraging girls to consider and prepare for a future in STEM,” said AAUW CEO Linda D. Hallman, CAE.

“Talent is the only sustainable competitive advantage. Alcoa and Alcoa Foundation aim to help close the skills gap and support talent development by preparing girls for rewarding careers in advanced manufacturing,” said Esra Ozer, president of Alcoa Foundation. “Closing the skills gap is a global issue, and AAUW’s initiatives will inform and prepare middle school girls for a successful future in a number of critical STEM-related fields.”

To address local workforce needs in Barberton and Székesfehérvár, AAUW will develop customized programs to engage girls in engineering, technical trades, and other STEM fields, with input from Alcoa facilities in these locations. In addition to increasing participants’ enthusiasm for STEM, the programs help the girls’ families encourage them to continue in these fields.

AAUW has a proven track record of program delivery, providing STEM education to more than 11,000 girls each year at the branch, state, and national levels. AAUW’s national STEM camps and conferences target middle school girls because middle school is a critical time for girls to maintain their interest in STEM and begin taking courses that will lead to future STEM opportunities.

The AAUW research report Why So Few? Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics provides compelling evidence that environmental and social barriers continue to limit women’s participation and progress in these fields. The report recommends evidence-based actions that effectively overcome bias and stereotypes. These recommendations form the foundation of AAUW’s STEM programs and have helped position AAUW as a global expert on women and STEM.

For more information, visit www.aauw.org and search for “Why So Few?” or “STEM.” Follow @AAUWSTEM on Twitter for the latest on this new collaboration.

Lisa Goodnight By:   |   February 19, 2014