Capital Region’s Women STEM Talent Pipeline Outperforms US
Technology companies interested in eliminating the gender gap within their ranks of technical workers will find an unmatched talent pipeline in the Capital Region. Over the last three years area colleges and universities have awarded undergraduate and graduate STEM degrees to women at a higher rate than the nation, according to a Center for Economic Growth (CEG) analysis of Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) statistics. That is an achievement of particular relevance to companies such as General Electric, which is looking to hire 20,000 women for STEM roles by 2020 to help it achieve 50:50 representation for its technical entry-level programs.
Between the 2014 and 2016 school years in the Capital Region, 13 traditional colleges and universities awarded women with 2,621 bachelor, master and doctor degrees in seven major STEM fields*. That represented 35.2 percent of the 7,455 total STEM degrees awarded during that period. The region’s women STEM degree award rate was above the national average of 34.6 percent and slightly below the statewide average of 35.5 percent.
Women in STEM Fields
During the three-year period, Capital Region colleges and universities awarded the most STEM degrees in the biological and medical sciences and engineering fields to women. Two thirds (64.3 percent) of all STEM degrees awarded to women were in these two fields. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) and the University at Albany (UAlbany) awarded the most STEM degrees to women, totaling 1,105 and 862, respectively.
Representation in STEM Fields
Women by far dominate the region’s biological and biomedical sciences field, accounting for 59.9 percent of degrees awarded over the past three years. However, women only accounted for 25.8 percent of engineering degrees awarded during that period, even though women received the second most STEM degrees in that field. Women also received sizeable shares of STEM degrees in mathematics and statistics (43.2 percent) and physical sciences (36.2 percent).
In the STEM-Related field of health professions and related degrees, Capital Region universities awarded 2,303 undergraduate and graduate degrees to women over the past three years, or 72.9 percent of all such degrees. However, that rate fell below the national average of 78.9 percent.
Girls in STEM
To ensure the Capital Region has a pipeline of women with STEM skills, CEG for the past five years has organized the popular Girls in STEM. Last April’s event at Hudson Valley Community College’s Training and Education Center for Semiconductor Manufacturing and Alternative and Renewable Technologies (TEC-SMART) extension center in Malta attracted more than 200 girls in grades four through eight with hands-on workshops designed to engage them in STEM fields and careers. Also supporting Girls in STEM are AT&T, Hudson Valley Community College and Saratoga County Prosperity Partnership.
Registration for this spring’s Girls in STEM event is expected to open in February.
* The STEM fields included in these counts are biological and biomedical sciences, computer and information sciences and support services, engineering, engineering technologies and engineering-related fields, mathematics and statistics, physical sciences and science technologies/technicians. Capital Region institutions that awarded undergraduate and/or graduate degrees in these fields included the Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, Albany Medical College, Bryant & Stratton College-Albany, Clarkson University Capital Region Campus (formerly Union Graduate College), The College of Saint Rose, Maria College of Albany, RPI, The Sage Colleges, Siena College, Skidmore College, SUNY Polytechnic Institute, Union College and UAlbany.
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