Leading by example, that is one of the things that I admire most.
Leading people on, that is something I do not like at all.
So, you may be asking, where am I going with this blog? I am glad you asked.
I have been active in STEM recruiting for many years. I have always been of the belief that Science and Engineering stands to benefit immensely by having a diverse work force. For that reason, I believe that it is important that smart and enthusiastic people be attracted to, and recruited by, the STEM workforce. This should include males and females, young and old, minorities and non-minorities, democrats and republicans, straight and gay, I could go on and on. But we must find people who are joining the STEM workforce for the right reasons. I do not believe that anyone, regardless of their demographics, should be encouraged to enter the STEM workforce solely because jobs are plentiful or salaries are high. To recruit someone using only these enticements would simply be “leading them on.” It would set those individuals up for unhappiness and failure, and that would be wrong. STEM workers need to love STEM, and find a job which allows them to love working in STEM. A better way for recruiting a diverse STEM workforce would be for a STEM professional from one of the underrepresented groups “leading by example”, thus showing other members of that underrepresented group that STEM careers can be fun and rewarding as well as profitable.
I recently learned about Abagail Harrison, also known as Astronaut Abby. She is a young STEM professional from an underrepresented group, and she is effectively leading by example. She generally does not call attention to the fact that she is a well-paid woman in STEM, but rather, she simply shows her excitement and her achievements in STEM, and thus becomes a role model that similar underrepresented people can aspire to, if, and only if, they are attracted to work in the STEM field. Take a look at her Mars Generation Page, and you will see what I mean.
Abagail does occasionally use her blog to salute certain underrepresented groups. In one blog post, she identifies “11 Women Who Broke Barriers in the Space Industry”. In another recent blog post, she identified “10 Black Americans Who Made Extraordinary Contributions to Space Exploration.” In both these cases, she is providing a list of role models who our future STEM workforce can look up to.
So, what can a Technical Training company do to increase diversity in the STEM workforce? We can continue to track our statistics, and watch to see if the situation is improving. We look forward to a day in the future when the efforts of people like Abagail Harrison will result in a more diverse STEM workforce, a more diverse set of potential Instructors, and a more diverse Student pool. When that day comes, ATI will be blessed with the opportunity to have more underrepresented Instructors, and more underrepresented students.
In the meantime, please support businesses like ours that are making every effort to see more diversity in the STEM workforce. To learn more about Applied Technology Institute, or to register for one of our courses, or to register for one of our free short courses, please visit us at www.ATIcourses.com.