The Capitol Hill briefing demonstrates the crucial importance of STEM careers for girls and their capacity to use technology for the greater good.

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Martin Falbisoner [CC BY-SA 3.0

Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) and Dell Technologies, one of GSUSA’s key science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) partners, took to Washington on December 4, 2019 to update congressional leaders on the tremendous strides that Girl Scouts is making for girls with education and training in the crucial field of digital coding.

Coding for Good badges

Thanks to the 18 newly released Coding for Good badges, sponsored by Dell, girls learn about algorithms through age-appropriate, creative activities that champion and cultivate their coding skills through their individual interests. The vision behind “coding for good” is an environment in which girls feel comfortable learning through activities like coding positive memes to spread a message about a cause they care about, designing a digital game to educate people about an issue, and developing an app to promote healthy habits.

Girls learn improve their world through coding.

“Dell has been a necessary partner in helping girls see that they have the potential to change the world for the better through STEM,” said Sylvia Acevedo, CEO of GSUSA. “Girls learn about coding in a way that feels natural to them and in a way that cultivates and encourages their interests. What we’ve seen time and time again is that when girls realize they can make the world a better place, they become engaged and excited, and these badges are showing them all the ways they can improve their world through coding.”

Coding for Good badges are critical to increasing the talent pipeline.

“It has been reported that by 2024, there will be 1.1 million computing related job openings in the U.S., yet only 45% of those jobs could be filled based on current graduation rates,” said Karen Quintos, EVP and Chief Customer Officer of Dell Technologies. “As outlined in our Progress Made Real 2030 plan, we simply must empower more girls and underrepresented groups to consider careers in technology to meet the urgent demand for talent that will fuel the digital era. Our partnership with GSUSA and the Coding for Good badges are critical to increasing the talent pipeline and opening girls up to the opportunities a career in technology can provide.”

Building Blocks of STEM Act

Every Coding for Good badge includes a plugged-in and unplugged version, so all girls can learn the foundations of coding, regardless of their access to technology. The briefing comes at a timely moment for women and STEM, as Congress considers passage of the Building Blocks of STEM Act, which supports research into understanding how and why young children, especially girls, participate in STEM activities. Introduced in March 2019 by Senators Jacky Rosen (D-NV) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) and Representatives Haley Stevens (D-MI) and James Baird (R-IN), the bipartisan proposal directs the National Science Foundation to fund research on (1) early childhood development in STEM, (2) the factors that contribute to young girls’ participation in STEM activities, and (3) programs that encourage young girls to engage in computer science during preschool and elementary school.

“Technology and the tech industry provide so many opportunities for students and workers to pursue jobs and contribute to shaping our economy in my home state of West Virginia and in communities across the country,” Senator Capito said. “By finding ways to introduce students to STEM skills and knowledge at an early age, we can help them better learn to take risks, solve problems, and build confidence—especially among young women and girls. Whether it’s through my Girls Rise Up program, legislative efforts, or working with partners like Girl Scouts, I’ve been a strong supporter of STEM and [of] encouraging more young women to get involved in this field. These efforts have and will continue to help young minds realize their incredible potential, inspire them to pursue careers in critical industries, and empower them to follow their dreams.”

As a computer programmer earlier in her career, Senator Rosen (D- NV) said, “It is so important for young children, especially our girls, to be introduced to opportunities available to them in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math. I look forward to continue working with the Girl Scouts to identify educational opportunities that will help our girls succeed.”

Together, GSUSA and Dell are doing their part to ensure a new generation of girls are introduced to the world of coding as they grow into contributors to a strong future workforce.

This briefing gives GSUSA and Dell a chance to bring to Capitol Hill their shared mission of preparing budding female leaders in coding, as well as to inform Congress and the U.S. people about the importance of ensuring that we provide girls with the tools and experiences they need.

Girl Scouts of the USA

Girl Scouts of the USA are 2.5 million strong—more than 1.7 million girls and 750,000 adults who believe in the power of every G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™ to change the world. Their extraordinary journey began more than 100 years ago with the original G.I.R.L., Juliette Gordon “Daisy” Low. On March 12, 1912, in Savannah, Georgia, she organized the very first Girl Scout troop, and every year since, we’ve honored her vision and legacy, building girls of courage, confidence, and character who make the world a better place. Girl Scouts are preeminent leadership development organization for girls. And with programs from coast to coast and across the globe, Girl Scouts offers every girl a chance to practice a lifetime of leadership, adventure, and success.

SOURCE Girl Scouts of the USA via PR Newswire