The Apple STEM Network and the North Central Educational Service District (NCESD), in partnership with Microsoft, NCW Tech Alliance, NCW Libraries and Career Connect Washington, are proud to announce five upcoming events across the region this spring called, “Tech & Tiaras”, for 8th grade students who identify as female or non-binary, to explore technology and computer science:
March 23, 2023 | Moses Lake, WA
March 28, 2023 | Omak, WA
March 30, 2023 | Wenatchee, WA
April 18, 2023 | Quincy, WA
April 25, 2023 | Manson, WA
SHB 5088 was passed in 2019, which requires all comprehensive high schools to offer elective computer science courses for high school students by 2022-2023 school year. This means that for the first time across the region, middle school students have the option to take computer science and technology courses beginning in high school.
Despite this expanded access to computer science young women are significantly underrepresented in these classes. In 2022, approximately 792 students across north central Washington took a high school computer science course, only 26% of those enrollments were students who identify as female.
This gender gap translates to the regional workforce and women are significantly underrepresented in technology roles as well. Labor market data shows that in 2022 there was an average of 21,414 open computing positions across the state each month. These positions posted an average salary of $112,623 yearly. Hispanic women comprise 26% of the population in North Central Washington, but comprise just 2.7% of the local technology workforce.
To encourage more young women to consider taking courses and exploring future career paths in technology, the regional events were designed to inspire middle school girls and teens who identify as female, through a fun and engaging, hands-on experience with technology alongside women in the technology industry.
To further the message, the girls will also have a chance to hear directly from parents, peers and teachers about the benefits of STEM education and the possible career pathways for all students. In this short compilation video produced by NCESD, voices from families in North Central Washington, including a Quincy High School graduate who attends the University of Washington, an Othello High School graduate who attended DigiPen Institute of Technology, and other students from Manson High School and Almira Coulee-Hartline High School.
Middle school is a perfect time for students to begin preparing for future careers through experiences that introduce them to new skills and professionals who can help students to identify with potential careers on a personal level.
Each event will give students opportunities to code, explore robotics, engineer an LED light up tiara and connect in small groups with local women in technology. All Tech and Tiaras events are free for students to attend but space is limited. Educators are encouraged to register their classes soon.
These events have been sponsored by the NCW Libraries, Microsoft, and NCW Tech Alliance.