By Robert A. Emmanuel
TheAmerican transnational technology firm, Cisco,haspartnered with the Ministry of Education, iLabGlobal, and the Barbuda Relief Network, to bring Girls Power Tech initiative to Antigua and Barbuda.
The Girls Power Tech initiative was designed to inspire girls to pursue careers in Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) through firsthand exposure to the latest technology and engagement with technology industry professionals.
According to a press release, in the emerging economies of the world, women make up 27 percent of workers in the fields of computer science, engineering, and physics.
“With an explosion of high-paying technology-related jobs all over the world, there are 1.2 million computing-related jobs that will exist in the US alone by 2022, with only enough computer degree graduates to fill 39 percent of them.”
Global tech giant, Cisco stated that it was keen to ensure that secondary-school students in Antigua and Barbuda will be introduced to the STEM field, in order to produce 21st century leaders in the workforce.
According to the CEO of iLabGlobal, Makŏ Williams, “Statistics clearly indicate that rapid skill acquisition is critical to high job performance. In other words, your ability to learn new software programmes and deliver solutions, based on what you know and what you can [actually] do is critical to your success. Learning a trade is no longer limited to carpentry, masonry or mechanics — it requires learning those highly sought-after technology skills, like coding, database building and networking.
“Our mission is to support high school students to acquire those skills at the time of graduation and shortly thereafter. By teaching these skills early, you are allowing students ready access to the growing job market in STEM-related fields. We aim to provide students with the same opportunity as our international counterparts.”
On July 15, twenty-two secondary schoolgirls in Antigua and 12 in Barbuda will participate in the event, which will take place at two locations simultaneously — the iLabGlobal in Antigua, and Sir McChesney George Secondary School in Barbuda.
The day will consist of various tech-related hands-on activities, presentations, and team building exercises.
The event will also provide the attendees with the opportunity to interact in person, as well as, virtually, with accomplished mentors.
“Initiatives and partnerships that bring events like Girls Power Tech to Antigua and Barbuda, play an important role in our organisation’s commitment to providing the type of meaningful programmes that will aid in shaping the way forward after hurricane Irma. This event will provide a fun learning and networking opportunity to the young women that take part,” said Decota Jeffrey, Barbuda Relief Network Director.
Students and parents interested can still receive information and sign up at the Ministry of Education.