News On the Radar: 4/27/22

Here is a brief round-up of information and news that crossed NCWIT’s radar recently and which we think will be of interest to you. The practices or content of the news gathered (while not endorsed or vetted by NCWIT) is meant to spark new conversations and ideas surrounding the current diversity statistics and trends in the tech workforce.

Did you know that building new on-ramps could help address the underrepresentation of women of color in tech?

A recent Fortune article examines why there are a quarter million women of color missing from the tech workforce. The author cites analysis by the Bureau of Labor Statistics which highlights that while Black, Latinx, and American Indian women make up 20 percent of the U.S. population, they account for only 5 percent of the tech workforce.  

Many of these women are overlooked during the hiring process because in many cases, companies focus on checking all the boxes instead of identifying qualified candidates. The Equation for Equality in Tech, a new report from NPower, suggests that many young women of color in non-tech careers likely already have transferable skills that would allow them to succeed in tech. Bertina Ceccarelli, CEO of NPower, and her team “found 500 non-tech job categories where workers have the skills, knowledge, and ability required for many tech jobs. The researchers call those jobs ‘tech eligible’.”

“Women of color are doubly represented in all tech-eligible jobs than they are in tech jobs. The onus, Ceccarelli says, is on the tech companies to widen their pool to include them.”

To learn more about the ways companies can support a diverse workforce, check out these resources:

Did you know that building new pathways to computing degrees holds potential to increase diversity?

Building two-year and four-year pathways that increase equity and broaden participation rather than creating new barriers and hurdles for students is indeed challenging. But the importance of these collaborative partnerships cannot be overstated, especially in furthering equitable representation in computing.

Last week’s installment of the Meeting of the Minds discussion series, hosted by the NCWIT Academic Alliance, focused on broadening participation through two-year and four-year partnerships. According to The Community College Research Center’s (CCRC) article Strengthening Transfer Paths to a Bachelor’s Degree: Identifying Effective Two-Year to Four-Year College Partnerships, community colleges enroll nearly half of the nation’s undergraduate students. Despite 80 percent indicating they plan to transfer to get a bachelor’s degree, less than 20 percent ended up with a bachelor’s degree within six years of starting at a community college (CCRC Study from 2011-2017). One way to contend with this is reverse transfers. According to a Forbes article, “Reverse transfer is a process for awarding an associate of arts degree to students who transfer from a two-year to a four-year institution prior to completing the AA degree requirements at the two-year institution. Through reverse transfer students can combine the credits they earn at their four-year school with those they had previously earned at community college and retroactively be awarded an associate’s degree.”

Compared with four-year institutions, community colleges enroll proportionately more students from underrepresented demographic groups, including racial/ethnic minority, low-income, first-generation, and nontraditional-age college students. However, NCWIT Scorecard data indicates that there are actually slightly lower percentages of women receiving computing associate degrees (Computer & Information Sciences (CIS) women 21 percent; Computer Science (CS) women 16 percent) than bachelor’s (CIS women 22 percent; CS 21 percent). So while community colleges are a great potential source of diversity, the lack of diversity in their computing programs needs to be addressed as well.

The CCRC’s Transfer Playbook recommends three steps for building inclusive pathways: (1) prioritizing transfer students (especially by the four-year institutions in the partnership), (2) creating clear programmatic pathways with aligned high quality instruction, and (3) providing tailored student advising and mentorship support specific for transfer students.

Interested in learning more? Watch a replay of the Meeting of the Minds webinar here.

To learn more about the importance of creating pathways between two and four-year institutions, check out these resources:

Did you know that NCWIT AiC honored 3,610 students and educators in the 2021-2022 awards season?

As the 2021-2022 awards season comes to a close, NCWIT Aspirations in Computing (AiC) is proud to announce that this year, a total of 3,610 unique recipients received a combined total of 3,893 recognitions. NCWIT AiC offers three distinct awards for high school students, college students, and educators, recognizing aspirations, abilities, technical accomplishments, and influential guidance. Below is a breakdown of this year’s recipients; click the links to learn more about the winners and honorable mentions for each award.

The Award for Aspirations in Computing honors 9th-12th grade women, genderqueer, or non-binary students for their computing-related achievements and interests, and encourages them to pursue their passions. Award recipients are selected based on their aptitude and aspirations in technology and computing, as demonstrated by their computing experience, computing-related activities, leadership experience, tenacity in the face of barriers to access, and plans for post-secondary education. Awards are given at both National and Regional Affiliate levels, and participants may receive awards at both levels in the same season. This year, a total of 3,767 awards were given to students in 49 states, Puerto Rico, Guam, US Virgin Islands, Overseas Military Bases, and Canada, in the following categories:

The NCWIT Collegiate Award honors the outstanding computing accomplishments of undergraduate and graduate women, genderqueer, or non-binary undergraduate and graduate students. Conferred annually, the award recognizes technical contributions to projects that demonstrate a high level of innovation and potential impact. This year, the following recipients were recognized:

The AiC Educator Award identifies exemplary formal and informal educators who play a pivotal role in encouraging 9th-12th grade women, genderqueer, or non-binary students to explore their interests in computing and technology. The award recognizes these educators for their efforts to promote gender equity in computing. This year, the following recognitions were given:  

To make this awards season possible, more than 500 volunteer reviewers completed a total of 10,434 application reviews. The dedicated efforts of these volunteers are crucial to the success and ongoing impact of the NCWIT AiC Recognitions program. To join this effort, learn more about volunteering to review AiC Award applications here:

Research shows that encouragement plays a critical role in engaging students from diverse backgrounds in computing, and past recipients of the NCWIT AiC Awards often share that receiving an award helped encourage them to persist in their technical explorations. As one past recipient said, “NCWIT helped me find a community with similar goals and encouraged me to pursue a higher education in computer science.” Another stated, “This award has taught me the value in leadership. In a way, the award has shown me what it’s like to be in a community of computing.” A third recipient shared that she was inspired to help others get involved: “The award affirmed that I have a place here, and has inspired me to be that encouragement for other girls in tech as well.”

To learn about all of the AiC award recipients from this year as well as previous years, visit the Awardees page.

Scroll to Top