Minnesota High Schools Grow Young Women into a Strong Tech Workforce

Image of Aspirations computer award honorees from MinnState IT Center of Excellence, see https://mnstateitcoe.org/announcing-the-2021-minnesota-aspirations-in-computing-awards-honorees/

2021 Computing Awards will be Celebrated on April 14

By Russell Fraenkel, IT Pathways Director, Minnesota State IT Center of Excellence

Throughout the month of April, DEED and its partners in CareerForce are focused on sharing resources and promoting events that raise awareness and break down barriers to tech careers. Women hold just over a quarter of technology jobs in Minnesota, illustrating the challenge and opportunity that exists for employers to achieve gender parity. And it’s in Minnesota employers’ best interests to diversify their workforce to more closely mirror the customers they serve and desire to attract. Tech jobs are typically in high demand, pay well, and offer challenging and rewarding experiences. 

A remarkable number of businesses and organizations have joined forces with the Minnesota State IT Center of Excellence and the National Center for Women and Information Technology to inspire and empower young women in high school to become our next, best Minnesota-grown technology talent. The nearly 10-year-old Aspirations in Computing Awards Program features the best and brightest female tech talent in our midst. This year, 116 students were selected by national and state review teams. Visit this webpage to discover the students recognized in 2021 for their computing and IT aptitude, leadership ability, academic history, and plans for post-secondary education.

The Minnesota State IT Center of Excellence will celebrate Top-Tier 2021 Minnesota Aspirations in Computing Honorees the evening of April 14 - and you can participate in the celebration virtually. (Updated: See Recording You can also see a recording of remarks from one of the top-tier national award honorees, Alexis Bunnell.)  

The Minnesota State IT Center of Excellence will also celebrate Rising Star and Certificate of Distinction honorees. You can learn more about these amazing young women during virtual events on April 24 from noon – 12:30pm via this link (Certificate of Distinction) and May 1 from 11:45am-12:30pm via this link (Rising Star). Thank you to General Mills for hosting the Certificate of Distinction event and the Minnesota Twins for hosting the Rising Star event. 

It’s important to engage young people from a diverse range of backgrounds about the many career possibilities in tech. The next generation of workers will be a much more racially and ethnically diverse workforce than in the past. Education institutions, businesses and nonprofits are joining together to encourage entry into the industry for youth, especially youth from Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) communities.

For more information about the Minnesota Aspirations in Computing year-round talent development program and other efforts to diversify the technology workforce, contact russell.fraenkel@metrostate.edu.

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