14 Mar MATC seeks to turn around falling tech enrollment among women
Madison, Wis. — Instructors at Madison Area Technical College would like to see more women going into information technology careers.
Over the last decade, the percentage of women in IT careers has declined from a high of 41 percent to 32 percent, said Janet Kelly, communications director for MATC. And at MATC, enrollment of women in IT programs has dropped to under 20 percent.
Speaking at the Women in IT Expo at the college on Wednesday was Patricia Prime, chief information officer for the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation.
“[Information technology] is a fascinating and broad field, not a narrow technical field,” Prime said in a separate conversation with WTN. “One of the myths is that people do think of IT as a highly technical, machine-oriented, or a programming type of field. There is just so much more to it.”
At the Fusion CEO-CIO Symposium earlier this month, executives from global staffing firm Manpower shared data showing that offshoring, commonly blamed for reducing interest in technology careers in the U.S., is not slowing job creation here. Many CIOs in the room expressed they were having trouble filling IT jobs and that offshoring is becoming more expensive and is not a complete solution.
Instead, it could be the negative perception of “geeks” that is holding back interest in the field. Rick Davidson, CIO of Manpower, and Jonas Prising, its North American president, agreed that IT needs to be perceived as “cool” in order to draw more interest among potential workers.
The expo was part of a series of events and programs at MATC including gaming events, support groups, mentoring, and a girls’ summer camp this June 26-28 focusing on several areas of technology including IT.
Prime’s comments and more will be part of an upcoming series of articles on WTN about the challenges of attracting and keeping an IT workforce.
• IT worker shortage linked to tech enrollment drop
• CIO Leadership Series: Rick Davidson, Manpower
• CIOs looking to hire more IT workers in second quarter