FLINT TOWNSHIP, Mich. – The Michigan Council of Women in Technology (MCWT) is working to expand its support of females who are pursuing higher education in technology, and Baker College is among the organizations lining up to connect its students with MCWT.
“We will establish three regional student chapters this academic year for our students in technology programs at Baker College campuses across the state,” said Richard Bush, Ph.D., Baker College dean of the College of Information Technology. “MCWT can open the door to scholarships and internships for our female technology students. They will be able to network with female students at other colleges and universities and, most importantly, with female professionals who can serve as mentors.”
The mission of establishing the link between college-age students and MCWT has been taken on by Cindy Swiantek, a member of MCWT’s advisory board. She’s a veteran in the IT field, having served in senior-level positions for international companies.
“MCWT has already established extensive programming to encourage girls in K-12 to engage in technology, and we are doing a good job of offering mid-to-late career support for women,” Swiantek said. “We’ve always welcomed college students as members. It’s time we specifically link with them at their colleges and universities. Their success in completing their degree programs is crucial to getting more women into the IT workforce.”
She said MCWT is asking colleges and universities in Michigan to start student chapters on their campuses.
Bush is working to establish three regional student chapters: Southeast Michigan, Central Michigan and Western Michigan. They will be open to students of any technology-related program at Baker College. This includes information technology, engineering and several health science programs, such as health information technology.
A free annual MCWT membership is available to every full-time female student. It offers e-learning opportunities, professional development programs and forums for relationship-building and outreach. Students would have access to MCWT’s job posting database and LinkedIn group, and would be able to participate in the MCWT mentoring program.
Through participation in a college-based chapter, students will be exposed to the technology industry through the eyes of successful, professional women.
“Students will be able to meet Michigan’s IT leaders at MCWT special events,” Swiantek said. “Female students will also have internship opportunities to help introduce them to a real-world working environment.
“Our members are eager to volunteer. It helps them create stronger relationships while giving back to the community by helping attract females to the technology field.”
Bush said, “Women are greatly underrepresented in STEM fields – science, technology, engineering and math – and employers want and need a workforce that is diverse and includes females. These are rewarding careers with excellent pay.”
STEM-related occupations are projected to grow among the fastest of all occupations through 2022, reaching employment of more than 9 million. That’s an increase of 1 million jobs over 2012 STEM-related employment.
The vision of the Michigan Council of Women in Technology Foundation is to make Michigan the No. 1 state for women in technology. The organization supports Michigan’s female IT workforce, students, corporate partners, schools and the overall community with programming, scholarships, networking, learning, mentoring and technology experiences.
Find more information at www.mcwt.org and connect via LinkedIn, Facebook and YouTube.