By Linda Moore

At TechNet, we are proud of the fact that 60 percent of our team is female.

That’s just one reason we were pleased to join AT&T, CA Technologies, Oracle, Uber, Visa, and others yesterday at “Teach A Girl to Tech Day” hosted by the Women’s High Tech Coalition at AT&T’s D.C. Forum to celebrate International Day of the Girl.

Teach a Girl to Tech Day brought together 60 local elementary school girls with the technology world, giving them the opportunity to learn about the latest tech tools, interact with the industry’s leading innovators, and even try out the newest virtual reality video games.

The students also heard from Representatives Susan Brooks (R-IN) and Suzan DelBene (D-WA), who reinforced the most important message that the Women’s High Tech Coalition hoped the girls would take away: girls are not just the users, but the designers and builders of tomorrow’s technology.

Judging by their enthusiasm, the message seemed to be getting through: at one station, a girl was overheard declaring that

At TechNet, we know that these young girls will play a crucial role in our economy as future innovators. We’re certainly going to need them.

As it stands, there are 500,000 jobs in the U.S. requiring computer science education right now, and we are simply not training enough students to satisfy that demand. Only certain K-12 schools teach any computer science. These alarming facts underscore the urgency with which we must act to make the right investments in STEM education to ensure companies can fill these critical labor shortages as soon as possible.

In late September, the Trump Administration issued a memorandum directing the U.S. Department of Education to invest at least $200 million annually in computer science and STEM education programs. The memorandum represents a significant step in the right direction, and will help prepare today’s students for the jobs of tomorrow.

But if we are truly committed to filling those 500,000 jobs available now and the thousands more that will open in the future, we must complement that investment by encouraging girls to choose and stick with the STEM fields.

That’s how we ensure that our nation’s economy will remain robust, competitive, and the most innovative in the world.

Oracle’s “Learn to Code” table
Students pick up free gear at Uber’s Women Engineer Group table

Students try out interactive money management tools at Visa’s table