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Corporate News

The Importance of STEM in Encouraging the Next Generation of Tech Leaders
By Andrea L. Taylor, Director of North America Community Affairs, Microsoft Corporation
Jan 10, 2012, 15:55

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The importance of science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM as it’s commonly known, can’t be underestimated in preparing students for an increasingly technological tomorrow.

By 2018, the U.S. will have more than 1.2 million job openings in STEM-related fields according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Regretfully, there is likely to be a significant shortage of qualified college graduates to fill them.

Consequently, Microsoft has established several initiatives to help improve student skills in STEM and to encourage youth to pursue careers in the technology industry.
The state of STEM education has been a leading topic of conversation in recent years in the public and private sectors. More than 100 CEOs, including Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer, came together in 2010 to launch Change the Equation; an historic effort to scale up effective models for improving STEM education.

President Obama in his State of the Union address in January 2011 said, “Maintaining our leadership in research and technology is crucial to America's success. But if we want to win the future — if we want innovation to produce jobs in America and not overseas — then we also have to win the race to educate our kids.”

Microsoft has made significant investments in STEM education to inspire young people to consider these fields in an effort to win the future.

Blacks at Microsoft, an employee resource group, annually hosts Minority Student Day for area high schoolers from underrepresented ethnic backgrounds to highlight the opportunities available to them in technology fields. 

Other programs supported by Microsoft include Imagine Cup to help students and the public understand the transformational role that technology can play in our daily lives and DigiGirlz, to dispel gender stereotypes and to help increase the number of women in STEM careers. Partners in Learning, Games4Learning, and Kodu Game Lab provide educators and students with innovative new approaches to STEM education. 

Locally, Microsoft partnered with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Boeing Company and other area companies to create Washington STEM, a nonprofit focused on improving STEM teaching and learning in Washington state.

Recently, Microsoft announced the findings of two national surveys of college students currently pursuing STEM degrees and parents of K–12 students. The goal of the surveys was to gain insight about what can better prepare and inspire students to pursue post-secondary education in STEM subjects. Based on the college student survey findings, many students indicated that the decision to study STEM starts before college. Indeed, the next great engineer is not developed overnight.

Microsoft remains committed to improving student skills in STEM, every step of the way, thus empowering them to become part of the next generation of technology leaders.  We will continue efforts to educate and inspire students by introducing them to the many available opportunities and career choices.

Working together in local communities, our goal is to help young people gain access to the education and skills that they need and get connected to the opportunities they deserve to win the future.

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Black Technology

A virtual spokesperson for black technology, BlackEngineer aspires to serve as leading news and information provider on the advancements in black technology with deep insights into black engineering, black entrepreneurs, black education, and historically black colleges and universities (HBCU). In fact, BlackEngineer is one of the very few to promote the achievements of black technology. The Black engineer of the year awards (BEYA) is one of our successful ventures to promote black technology, progress and achievements made in black technology, and the sentiments of the Black community in the US, the UK, Caribbean, and Africa.


Black Entrepreneurs

Black technology entrepreneurs are increasingly providing the horsepower that drives the global economy. Over the last two decades, black entrepreneurs have created more jobs, and contributed much more to the economic expansion of the Black community as a whole, than any black pastor or politician. Black entrepreneurs are taking risks and building businesses that generate economic growth and increase prosperity in underserved areas, as more minority-owned and minority-focused businesses emerge, willing to serve the financial needs of Black entrepreneurs. US Black Engineer & Information Technology magazine's annual list of Top Black Technology Entrepreneurs reflects the expanding scope of leading Black entrepreneurs in information technology, homeland security, and defense.