I’ve just left the White House Tech Inclusion Summit. As a advisory board member for Astia, the global women’s high growth entrepreneurship accelerator, and as a Professor of Entrepreneurship at Simmons College in Boston, the topics discussed touched multiple loci where women high growth entrepreneurs live.
The high growth economy relies on a stream of talented young innovators and entrepreneurs who’ve gotten the mentoring and introduction to “discovery moments” (Eric Schwarz, Citizens Schools) that makes a vision of a future career in STEM possible. As Dr. Jan Cuny of NSF noted, the “Forgotten 70%” (women, Hispanics, African Americans, Native Americans, people with disabilities) just aren’t usually in the room for this crucial transmission of excitement, achievement and tacit knowledge — and we all lose out as a result. Individuals, families, businesses, cities, society have fewer options, less talent. This when, “…employment in STEM occupations is expected to expand faster than employment in non-STEM occupations from 2010 to 2020″. *
The Level Playing Institute, chaired by Mitch Kapor (inventor of the spreadsheet), is applying science and research to make a difference in the future of STEM practice through people. In his remarks, he noted the summer camp he attended where his introduction to a computer was made. Simple acts, big impact.
So, this is about kids — lots of them — who need access and inspiration. And it’s about the economy, jobs and neighborhoods. It’s also about the women high growth entrepreneurs out there plugging, and succeeding — being role models right now. We need to keep working to connect the front and center action with the pipeline.
The Summit shared seven national works in progress — new initiatives deeply embedded in private-public-government partnerships to reverse the trend that created the “Forgotten 70%” in STEM. Look for news of these initiatives soon — including the American 2020 Initiative with an audacious goal–to train 10, 000 computer science teachers in 10,000 schools by 2020. But as Kevin Eyres, an America 2020 Initiative founder says: “this is America, we’re all about audacious goals” (paraphrase).
For more information: visit lpfi.com (Level Playing Field Institute is committed to eliminating the barriers faced by underrepresented people of color in science, technology, engineering and mathematics and fostering their untapped talent for the advancement of our nation.)