COVID-19 has demonstrated that technology is a bridge to sustaining a degree of normalcy in our lives. Institutions were able to switch almost overnight to online instruction and services only because of advances in technology, showing how critical having prepared professionals to address world problems is. According to the 2021 study “Women Chief Technology Officers in Community Colleges” by Monica D. Wiggins, the prevalence of technology today requires skilled technology workers — more than ever before — to secure, design, maintain and upgrade an ever-increasing number of advanced technological devices and programs.
The National Science Board (NSB) Task Force on the Skilled Technical Workforce reported that, by 2022, the number of skilled technical job openings in the United States is likely to exceed the availability of skilled technical workers by 3.4 million. Alarmingly, in the face of this projected gap, a shortage of women in STEM-related careers persists. Women make up more than 50% of the U.S. population but only account for 30% of the STEM workforce (CoSTEM, 2018). The inequality of women in the workforce not only presents a barrier to meeting the need for skilled workers but contributes to a lack of diversity, inclusion and varied perspectives.