GM Invests in STEM Education to Boost Women in Tech

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General Motors recently pledged $850,000 to facilitate greater STEM engagement among girls and teachers. IT executive Monica Eaton-Cardone praises GM’s efforts and urges other companies to commit to supporting more women in technology.

Monica Eaton-Cardone, IT executive, discusses the move by General Motors to increase women in tech.

General Motors Co. (GM) recently announced that it would contribute more than $850,000 to four nonprofits to help prepare young women and minorities for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers.(1) With this pledge, GM’s total investment in STEM education will exceed $10 million by year end.(2) Monica Eaton-Cardone, an IT executive specializing in risk management and fraud prevention, commends the automotive leader and calls for other firms to undertake their own efforts to help increase the number of women in technology professions.

GM’s latest investment was announced by CEO Mary Barra, who explained that the company intends to develop students’ and educators’ STEM capabilities.(2) As of 2015, America had roughly 500,000 open computing jobs but only 40,000 computer science graduates; meanwhile, the proportion of female computer science majors has fallen from 34% in 1984 to 18% last year.(3) “The need for coding and STEM degrees is increasing; and if we don’t reach women, we are not going to have the technical talent we need in the industry,” warned Barra.(3)

To boost the number of women in tech, GM has partnered with four new nonprofit organizations—Code.org, Black Girls Code, Institute of Play and Digital Promise—after announcing a partnership with Girls Who Code in January. GM is working with these groups to “drive transformative solutions” in immersive learning, computational thinking, artificial intelligence and digitization of education.(2) Other tech leaders are pursuing similar goals. Cyber-security firm Symantec aims to engage 1 million students in STEM education by 2020, while enterprise-software company SAP has added “STEM inclusion” to its corporate strategy.(1)

“Encouraging women to pursue STEM careers and equipping them with relevant skills is vital to the success of the U.S. tech industry,” said Monica Eaton-Cardone, who serves as Chief Information Officer (CIO) of Global Risk Technologies and Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Chargebacks911. “And as GM has demonstrated, the demand for engineers, coders and other IT professionals is not unique to tech firms. Many manufacturers require complex digital components, retailers rely on inventory control and data management systems, and most businesses employ an IT team. In short, we all have a vested interest in ensuring a highly skilled labor force.”

While small and mid-size businesses may not be able to afford the investments GM and other leading firms have made to support women in technology, Eaton-Cardone notes there are other ways companies can elevate the technical capabilities of tomorrow’s workforce. To help local students make the most of their education and prepare for future careers, she established a nonprofit called Paid for Grades that provides one-on-one tutoring, online life-skills and career-readiness workshops, technology grants for schools, and personal grants for students who successfully complete the program.

“I salute GM for its financial commitment to bring more females into the tech sector, and I encourage other business leaders to explore ways to contribute to that goal,” said Eaton-Cardone. “It doesn’t have to be expensive; start with your local community and engage employees in the process. Set up programs to tutor students from area schools, or offer internships to provide hands-on experience. Host a STEM career day and spotlight the different kinds of tech roles that will be hiring when students graduate, and demonstrate the skills they’ll need to land those jobs. With a bit time, effort and creativity, you can groom today’s students to become your future technology staff.”

Monica Eaton-Cardone welcomes the chance to discuss opportunities for women in business and technology at upcoming industry events. She will be leading a session on chargeback management at the IATA World Financial Symposium in Dublin and participating in a panel on fraud prevention at TRUSTECH 2017 in Cannes. She is also available for interviews and future speaking engagements. For more information, visit http://monicaec.com.

About Monica Eaton-Cardone:

Monica Eaton-Cardone is an accomplished entrepreneur, speaker, author and industry thought leader who is internationally recognized for her expertise in risk management, chargeback mitigation, fraud prevention and merchant education. Eaton-Cardone found her calling as an entrepreneur when she sold her first business at the age of 19. She later became an eCommerce merchant; and after grappling with chargebacks and fraud, she took it upon herself to develop a comprehensive, robust solution that combined agile technologies and human insights. Today, Eaton-Cardone’s innovations are helping thousands of organizations achieve sustainable growth, and she continues to pioneer loss-prevention best practices as CIO of Global Risk Technologies and COO of Chargebacks911. Eaton-Cardone is a champion of women in IT and business leadership, and aims to inspire the next generation of young innovators through her nonprofit organization, Get Paid for Grades. Get to know her at http://www.monicaec.com.

1.    Kaye, Leon. “GM Boosts STEM Education for Girls and Women”; TriplePundit; July 6, 2017. triplepundit.com/2017/07/gm-boosts-stem-education-girls-women/

2.    General Motors. “GM Intensifies Push to Train Young People for Jobs of the Future”; press release issued June 28, 2017. gm.com/mol/m-2017-jun-0628-stem.html

3.    Thompson, Cadie. “GM’s CEO Mary Barra Tells Us Why She’s Making a Big Investment in Young Female Coders”; Business Insider; January 10, 2017. businessinsider.com/gm-partners-with-girls-who-code-ceo-mary-barra-interview-2017-1

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