New Community-Driven Online Resource Supporting Sonoma County Girls and Women Pursuing STEM Education & Careers Launched

Santa Rosa, California (October 25, 2019) – STEMhub, a web-based platform designed as a dynamic resource for women and girls interested in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education and careers is now live.

STEMhub is the first online resource to serve as a clearinghouse for women and girls in the North Bay to learn about regional STEM-related opportunities such as classes, meetups, events, seminars, careers and conferences. It is designed to connect “learners” – those interested in pursuing STEM education or career pathways – with “mentors” who are already working in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math.

Nationally and in California, the demand for a skilled STEM workforce is growing and STEM jobs offer higher salaries than non-STEM jobs. Women working in STEM jobs earn, on average, 33% more than those in other fields, yet women account for only 24% of the STEM workforce. Women’s under-representation in STEM fields begins early, with gender gaps in STEM interests beginning in middle school and growing throughout high school, college and career.

To address these challenges, the Career Technical Education (CTE) Foundation launched Community WISE (Women Investing in STEM Equity) in 2017, a coalition of individuals and organizations wishing to invest in support structures for women and girls in STEM. CWISE has been working strategically for two years to identify innovative solutions that enrich learning experiences and inform career exploration such that more North Bay women and girls will be encouraged to pursue STEM education and careers. An example of this effort includes the successful Girls Tinker Academy, a two-week summer camp that utilizes maker principles and activities to introduce and teach STEM concepts (see Press Democrat article from June 30, 2019).

“STEMhub is a way for us to both broaden and deepen our impact for girls in the North Bay by allowing us to engage with potentially thousands of women and girls instead of just dozens,” said Amber Figueroa, associate executive director at CTE Foundation. “We’re really excited about the mentor component because research shows that when women and girls are introduced to strong STEM role models who are women, a career in these fields becomes as attractive and attainable as any other.”

The STEMhub web platform uses gaming strategy in its design and offers “badges” to learners for participating in various local STEM events, connecting with other learners and mentors, and for building a mentorship relationship. Learners are separated into pathways according to their current level of STEM participation and can move to other paths depending on their engagement with the platform. Once learners become more experienced in their chosen STEM fields, they receive a certificate from the platform, and they are encouraged to apply for mentorship on STEMhub to help other young women find their own way in any STEM field.

With direction from the CWISE Steering Committee, STEMhub platform development has been led by Dr. Julia Mossbridge, a scientist, technologist, and author who puts together technology teams. “This launch is really thrilling for me,” Mossbridge gushed. “I’ve been in this field for twenty years and this is the first time I’ve worked with an all-woman team, believe it or not. I’m not saying it’s better; I’ve worked with excellent men too, but for this project there is of course a feeling of commitment among these women. This experience reinforces my belief that we need more women in STEM not because it’s simply ‘fair’ or ‘equitable,’ but because we need people who think in many different ways to solve difficult problems, and my team has done just that.”

STEMhub is a community driven resource web-page, so community members with a background or experience in STEM – or simply with a passion for supporting women and girls to pursue STEM education or careers – are invited to begin populating the site with community events and mentor profiles. Simply log on to stem-hub.com to add community events or register as a mentor.

For more information, visit stem-hub.com and ctesonomacounty.org/cwise.

First Food & Beverage Manufacturing Student/Industry Symposium a Success!

Students Connect with Employees and Hiring Managers to Learn About Career Opportunities

Fifteen food and beverage manufacturers joined CTE Foundation in a first-ever event designed to introduce high school and college students to the wide variety of career paths available in the industry. From production and bottling line design, engineering, and maintenance, to food chemistry, quality control, and product delivery, over 100 participating students learned how their skills and interests could lead to fulfilling jobs right here in Sonoma County.

Straus Family Creamery, E&J Gallo, Whole Foods, Cowgirl Creamery, Petaluma Poultry, and American Ag Credit sponsored the event. Jackson Family Wines brought a mobile bottling line to demonstrate some of the complex machinery required to bring products to market, and the mechanical skills required to operate them.

Check out our video to hear what students have to say about the event and the opportunities they uncovered for themselves.

North Bay Business Journal and Press Democrat were on site to report on events, read the full article here.

Founder Tony Crabb Interviewed by The Press Democrat

The Press Democrat talked to our founder, Tony Crabb, to learn more about his “light-bulb moment” and the importance of bringing relevancy to education. It started one day while visiting Healdsburg High School’s Construction and Sustainability Academy, there he observed a group of students paying close attention to the math lesson the teacher was giving via instructions on how to design and build a roof.

“I realized that we needed to bring the academic element into the shop environment,” Tony said. “We had to make learning hands-on.”

Read the article in its entirety here.