newspaper rollThe National Center for Women Information Technology (NCWIT) just announced the newest participants of NCWIT Pacesetters, a fast-track program that seeks to increase the number of women in technology and computing.

NCWIT Pacesetters is a two-year program where senior leaders from companies and universities publicly commit to increasing the number of women in the U.S. computing and technology workforce. Participants use innovative recruitment and retention methods to tap new talent pools and introduce interventions for those at risk of leaving, with the goal of bringing significant “net new” women to their organizations. The program is sponsored by the National Science Foundation, Google, and Qualcomm.

Currently, women account for only 25 percent of all computing-related occupations in the country and comprise just 18 percent of all computing and information sciences degrees earned at U.S. institutions. NCWIT said that more than half (56 percent) of technical women leave their jobs at the mid-career level, when their loss is most costly to companies.

The new cohort of NCWIT Pacesetters will start its two-year commitment with a meeting at the University of California at Santa Cruz on February 25, 2013. Some of the 20 universities and 14 companies participating include startups and global corporations, public and private universities, and state government departments, such as: Intel, Google, ATT, Syracuse University School of Information Studies, Virginia Tech, Symantec, Facebook, Microsoft and Qualcomm.

The participants from 2010’s pilot NCWIT Pacesetters program saw significant results, including:

  • Google doubled its number of female software engineering summer interns in 2011 compared to 2010.
  • Women majoring in computer science at the University of California at Santa Cruz  increased by 40 percent from two years ago

“By participating in NCWIT Pacesetters, these organizations are holding themselves accountable for a quantifiable ‘net new women’ goal within an aggressive time-frame,” Lucy Sanders, CEO of NCWIT, said. “We applaud them for their exemplary commitment to increasing their numbers of technical women and we’re excited to help them achieve their goals.”

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