The Leader – April 2016

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Promoting a Pipeline of Women in STEM

By Kristina Peralta, Director of Education and Workforce

Girls participating in the STEM activity at our Young Women’s Leadership Summit 2015.

Innovation has long been the driving force behind Silicon Valley’s economic success.

Silicon Valley’s innovative spirit has not only revolutionized technology, but how the world operates: From how we communicate to how we learn and how we do business.  The innovation that drives Silicon Valley has always been and will continue to be contingent upon a diversity of experiences and perspectives.

The inclusion of women in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields is integral. However, while women make up 47 percent of the total workforce in the United States, women continue to be underrepresented in certain science and engineering occupations. Recent data from the U.S. Department of Labor show that women comprise only 39 percent of chemists and material scientists, 27.9 percent of environmental scientists, 12.1 percent of civil engineers, 8.3 percent of electrical and electronics engineers and 7.2 percent of mechanical engineers. According to the National Science Foundation, race and ethnicity are salient factors in the rates of participation in science in engineering. Women of color make up less than 1 in 10 employed scientists and engineers.

The Silicon Valley Leadership Group voted “Diversifying the STEM Pipeline” as the Leadership Group’s top education priority for 2016 and its top two priority organization-wide. As such, the organization will focus on promoting policies and programs that prepare and encourage the inclusion and participation of women and underrepresented minorities in STEM.

On April 20, the Leadership Group will host its annual Young Women’s Leadership Summit. The purpose of the event is to encourage middle school girls, many of whom are students of color from underserved communities, to pursue careers in leadership and in STEM. Hosted at Levi’s Stadium, the event will bring together 400 middle school students and 150 female mentors serving in leadership roles and working in STEM related occupations within our membership organizations. During the Summit, students will have the opportunity to listen to female speakers discuss their personal and career trajectories, participate in a hands-on activity and connect with their mentors for the day.

Increasing the number of women in science and engineering first happens by educating girls and expanding their perception of what is possible. By providing young women with mentorship and with visible role models, we show them that a career in STEM is not only within the realm of possibility, but that a pathway to these fields exist.

For more information on the Young Women’s Leadership Summit or to get involved in the Leadership Group’s education portfolio, contact Kristina Peralta, Director of Education & Workforce at kperalta@svlg.org.

 

Engaging Leaders to Impact America’s Innovation Economy

By Rafael De La Rosa, Director of Government Relations

Silicon Valley Leadership Group member company CEOs/ senior executives and local public officials met with Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen during our D.C. Advocacy Trip.

As the cherry blossoms start to bloom year in and year out in Washington, D.C., we too at the Silicon Valley Leadership Group return and continue to engage national, state and local leaders on issues impacting our communities and America’s innovation economy.

We arrived on Monday in Washington, D.C. for three days from March 21 through March 23, with 50 Silicon Valley CEOs/senior officers and elected officials including San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo. Our mission – promote robust scientific research funding, advocate for transportation improvements including BART funding and Caltrain electrification, and encourage quick passage of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). We met with Congressional leaders, more than 30 key members of Congress, Secretary of Labor Tom Perez, United States Trade Representative Deputy Ambassador Robert Holleyman, senior White House officials as well as many others.

We were able to have in depth policy discussions with senior Administration officials from several branches of the government, which prepared us with the tools and tips to effectively advocate to members of Congress on the benefits of passing TPP, which will come to a vote this year. We had member company executives from every economic sector of Silicon Valley highlight the benefits in jobs, economic vitality and global competitiveness that passing TPP would bring to our region and our nation. We met with more than 30 key members of Congress to push for an increase in scientific research funding so our regional academic institutions and member companies can continue to engage in the cutting edge research that will lead to the next big breakthrough of tomorrow. We met with the Federal Transit Administration to discuss federal funding sources that could be used in conjunction with state and local funds to help alleviate the choking congestion and transportation issues affecting our valley.

Our CEOs and senior officers who own the Leadership Group continue to invest the most important resources they have – their time, talent, energy and experience.

 

On April 7th, 2016, posted in: The Leader by , , ,