Expedia has launched two summer programs to inspire teenage girls to pursue careers in computer science. The Expedia Apprenticeship Program, which is currently underway, and the Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Program which will begin on June 29, will host a total of 30 girls at the company’s headquarters in Bellevue.
According to the National Center for Women & Information Technology, women held about 26 percent of computing occupations in the U.S. workforce in 2013. The amount of female students leaning to code and design has fallen. According to Girls Who Code, 37 percent of all computer science graduates were women in 1984. Today, that number has dropped to 18 percent. Only 4 percent of high-school girls show interest in computer science and only a fifth of those who take the advanced placement computer science test are girls.
Gender parity in technology is a hot topic in part because computer specialist job openings are expected to increase to 1.4 million by 2020, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Expedia has reported that women educated in the U.S. are on pace to fill only 3 percent of those positions. Studies also show that 30 percent of students who are introduced to computer science early on continue in the field. In order to correct the gender gap, teenage girls need exposure to high tech and they need it now.
Girls Who Code is a national non-profit that works to encourage and equip girls with the skills needed to become technology leaders. Through Expedia, 20 girls will be trained by the company’s women computer science engineers and designers.
The new Expedia Apprenticeship Program is for 10 girls who have graduated from the Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Program. They are currently placed in engineering teams and getting hands-on experience.
“We’re excited to collaborate with such a widely-renowned organization to help train, mentor, and empower talented young women to pursue and excel in technology careers,” said Expedia Director of Technology Elena Camerini in a statement. “It is important for our communities to come together to open new doors for young women.”
Other tech companies such as Accenture, Adobe, AIG, AT&T, Electronic Arts, Facebook, GE, Google, IBM, Microsoft, Pixar Animation Studios, The Honest Company, and Twitter are making efforts to encourage girls into exploring tech jobs. Girls Who Code is expecting to include 1,200 girls in their programs across nine U.S. cities.