On April 30, 2018, Erica Messinger of Keysight Technologies and Honna Eichler George of SWE presented on the strategic partnership between Keysight Technologies and SWE at an industry session at the Collaborative Network for Engineering and Computing Diversity Conference (CoNECD).
As stated on the CoNECD website, the vision of the conference “is to provide a forum for exploring current research and practices to enhance diversity and inclusion of all underrepresented populations in the engineering and computing professions including gender identity and expression, race and ethnicity, disability, veterans, LGBTQ+, 1st generation and socio-economic status.”
Keysight Technologies has been an active member of SWE’s Corporate Partnership Council (CPC) since its inception in 2003 when the company was then Agilent Technologies. The presentation specifically focused on Keysight Technologies involvement and support of the SWE Collegiate Leadership Institute at SWE’s Annual Conference.
The Collegiate Leadership Program is a premier leadership development program for SWE collegiate members, representing the 300 university SWE sections within the United States. SWE accepts 140 women engineering and technology students who are invited to attend the Collegiate Leadership Institute (CLI) program at SWE’s Annual Conference. One of the primary goals of the program is to increase the persistence of women in engineering through building leadership, confidence, and various networking skills.
The presentation focused on three attributes that Keysight Technologies and SWE have identified that contribute to the long-term and successful partnership:
- Continual Feedback Loop: Ensuring that a programmatic investment goes beyond the written application and financial transaction is vital to this industry and nonprofit partnership. SWE and their main point of contact at Keysight Technologies regularly meet throughout the year to discuss the partnership. For example, of particular help is Keysight Technologies work with SWE to refine its programming to address the current and emerging needs of women in four-year programs. Keysight Technologies brings its expertise in working with universities across the globe to provide strategic insight to SWE and its programming and SWE, in return, modifies and updates its program accordingly. Without extensive research to support various intervention strategies, it is the field knowledge from Keysight Technologies that is of particular assistance to SWE in this area.
- Mutually Reinforcing Goals: Through its core organizational work, Keysight Technologies has a strong commitment to identifying, building, and supporting emerging leaders within the engineering profession. This goal directly aligns with SWE’s mission of ensuring women achieve full potential in careers as engineers and leaders. Without a strong and active reinforcing mutual goal, the priorities of Keysight Technologies and the programmatic work of SWE would be misaligned.
- Sustainable Investment Framework: Keysight Technologies has partnered with SWE for over 15 years, and much of this partnership has involved supporting collegiate leadership development in various forms. While SWE ensures it identifies and reports on short-term quantitative goals to demonstrate the program’s incremental progress, the overarching and long-term goal of increasing overall persistence in engineering cannot be measured year-over-year and must, likewise, depend on sustained investment.
The presentation and subsequent conversation at CoNECD sought to provoke general conversations between industry and association partners to better address the unique needs of women persisting in attaining four-year engineering degrees. Ultimately, through levering industry and association relationships, this project supports the goal of increasing the number of women entering the engineering workforce and increasing the chances that they stay in engineering. While additional research is needed to properly assess how this specific intervention strategy directly impacts women in engineering in the long-term, the model does provide a successful example of a strong industry and association relationship.