Jennifer Howland, a champion for the STEM Re-entry Task Force, was included in Good Housekeeping’s “10 Women Changing the Way We See the World” this month. Jennifer is the executive of IBM’s Pathways Program for experienced technical women. Jennifer has been with IBM for 31 years as an engineer, manager and executive spanning engineering, strategy, product and services development; business and process transformation and service delivery.
IBM is a founding member of the STEM Re-entry Task Force, joining six other engineering organizations that committed to executing internships catered to women returning to the technical workforce beginning in 2017. IBM’s program continues throughout 2017. For more information on opportunities with IBM’s Pathways Program, visit this website.
For more information on the 2017 program, with partners that include Ford General Electric, Johnson & Johnson, Medronic, Northrop Grumman and Schneider Electric, visit reentry.swe.org.
Jennifer also joined Jennifer Scott of the Society of Women Engineers in a presentation at WE Local Amsterdam explaining the benefits of starting a STEM Re-entry Program. Watch the video below to view the full presentation.
The 2017 Task Force white paper demonstrates the value proposition of the STEM Re-entry Task Force through interviews with Founding Members of the Task Force.
Without intervention strategies, the current demand for technical talent combined with the projected increase in the need for engineers will result in a significant shortage of skilled labor throughout the United States engineering industry.
Increasing the persistence of women in engineering at all stages of their careers is imperative to solving this talent shortage. As this white paper illustrates, while more women are graduating with four-year degrees than men, they are underrepresented in the engineering industry – especially within positions at the senior and executive levels. Women are also more likely than men to leave the engineering profession (Corbett & Hill, 2015).
In envisioning an intervention strategy to re-engage female engineers who have left the workforce, the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and iRelaunch created the STEM Re-entry Task Force (Task Force).
Through the STEM Re-entry Task Force, engineering and technology organizations can develop cost-effective re-entry programs to attract an underutilized source of talent. (Within this context, re-entry programs are defined as formal internship programs developed by organizations to recruit individuals on a career break of two years or more back into the workforce to fill critical talent shortages. All re-entry programs are equal employment opportunities.)
Without incorporating re-entry programs as part of their overall recruitment strategies, organizations risk ignoring a valuable and largely unexplored source of talent. In addition, diversifying talent pipelines and increasing gender diversity not only addresses labor shortages, but it also fosters innovation (Dezso & Ross, 2012) and increases competitiveness in the global marketplace.