By Betsy Simon
May 14, 2020
As career opportunities in science, technology, engineering and math increase, so has Indiana State University’s commitment to providing a qualified and diverse field of employees.
Indiana State was recognized in 2017 by Million Women Mentors-Indiana for its contributions to advancing women in STEM careers.
State’s College of Technology has employed strategies over the past 15 years to increase the enrollment, persistence and success of women in engineering and technology fields. Two of the most significant efforts have been closely connected with mentoring: the Females in Technology, a student organization in its 14th year of supporting and connecting female students in technology, and Destination Success, a career-readiness program started in 2015.
These efforts have helped the College of Technology increase female enrollment from five percent to nearly 12 percent. More important than the increased enrollment numbers, however, is the influence mentoring has on the students to encourage other young women to explore options in STEM career fields.
Females in Technology members plan a “FIT for the Future” conference each year as a career exploration event that offers hands-on activities in workshops facilitated by college FiT members. More than a dozen professional women also share their experiences working in technology and engineering fields. The chance to talk with women, who are professionals in technology, as well as college students studying in those fields, is an important aspect of the FIT conference.
These efforts aim to engage more women in careers like computer and mathematical, architecture and engineering, and life and physical science occupations, as well as managerial and postsecondary teaching occupations related to these functional areas and sales occupations requiring scientific or technical knowledge at the postsecondary level.
Employment opportunities in these occupations, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, are expected to increase from 9,708.3 in 2018 to 10,566.8 in 2028, a growth of 8.8 percent. This compares to 151,329.4 non-STEM occupations in 2018 and 158,869 projected by 2028, a 5 percent growth.
Of the 20 occupations with the highest percent change of employment between 2018-2028, almost all are STEM-related fields, specifically in health-related field, according to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook of the fastest growing occupations.
Those occupations include: solar photovoltaic installers, wind turbine service technicians, home health aides, personal care aides, occupational therapy assistants, information security analysts, physician assistants, statisticians, nurse practitioners, speech-language pathologists, physical therapist assistants, genetic counselors, mathematicians, operations research analysts, software developers/applications, forest fire inspectors and prevention specialists, health specialties teachers (postsecondary), phlebotomists, physical therapist aides and medical assistants.