By Leah Coppella
With Carleton University’s newly established Women in Engineering and Information Technology (WiE&IT) Program officially set to launch this September, the groundbreaking initiative led by the Faculty of Engineering and Design is continuing to develop meaningful partnerships in support of women in STEM.
Following the WiE&IT Program’s initial unveiling this past March, the program has expanded its support from industry as it welcomes BlackBerry QNX, CIRA (Canadian Internet Registration Authority), Ericsson, Nokia and Solace to an already robust list of industry and government partners featuring Trend Micro, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, CGI, Gastops, Leonardo DRS, Lockheed Martin Canada, Amdocs, EllisDon and Ross.
“BlackBerry is committed to our community and building next generation talent and diversity in the field,” says Grant Courville, VP, Products and Strategy, at BlackBerry QNX. “Carleton’s newly launched WiE&IT Program is designed to maximize these opportunities, engage top talent, and we’re thrilled to be a part of it.”
By fostering inclusion for educational journeys in STEM, the WiE&IT Program seeks to make roots in the community. The program will work to increase diversity, inclusion and the visibility of women in the engineering and IT workforce by providing practical resources to women and fostering purposeful relationships with industry and government partners.
Cybersecurity software company Trend Micro was quick to join the program due to their passion and commitment to the same goals.
“Every day we see the value of STEM education and Trend Micro is honored to sponsor a program that supports girls and women who will make an incredible impact within cybersecurity and the tech industry.”
Trend Micro’s workforce also includes many employees who are alumni of Carleton.
“As a learning organization ourselves, Trend Micro encourages employees to continuously grow, take risks and challenge themselves. This is why we believe we offer incredible value to women in STEM and we look forward to introducing our amazing culture and mentors who will support students in their educational paths and beyond.”
As one of the first sponsored programs of its kind in Canada, the WiE&IT Program aims to provide both undergraduate and graduate-level women students within Carleton’s wide range of engineering and information technology programs with the tools and knowledge to transition from academia into the workforce. The program will host events for women students to build relationships with industry and government partners, create mentorship opportunities, as well as provide a special fund to support allies at Carleton in meeting their equity, diversity and inclusion goals.
Solace, a company that works in smart data movement, is among the second round of partners who have joined the WiE&IT Program. They believe that closing the gender gap and increasing the representation of women in STEM is a business imperative and that a talented and successful workforce is a diverse workforce.
“We were eager to support the WiE&IT Program, one of the first of its kind in Canada, because we believe that the learning and development opportunities that young women will receive in the program will support them in accessing the jobs they desire and deserve,” says Solace.
“The way it stands now in Canada, the industry of Engineering and IT is missing out on the talents, creativity, and leadership of women due to the unfair (and unfounded) biases towards engineering competency. We believe that the WiE&IT Program is a small, but important step in the right direction that will hopefully encourage more women to enroll in Engineering and IT, and eventually lead to more diverse workspaces in the future.”
Solace is also particularly excited to sponsor the program by starting in Carleton’s and their own backyard: Ottawa.
“Carleton University’s dedication to helping women pursue careers in STEM is an encouraging step towards Canada’s national goal of raising the percentage of licensed women engineers to 30% by 2030,” says Solace. “With Carleton’s Faculty of Engineering and Design having some of the most advanced STEM programs in the country and being pioneers for programs like WiE&IT, we are hopeful that Canada can make some real progress.”
The Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA), which manages the “.ca” top-level domain for Canada, is also newly sponsoring the initiative. They believe the program is a great way for employers to step up and help create a more inclusive tech industry.
“At CIRA, we know that diversity makes us stronger. We also know that women don’t always view careers in STEM as a viable path. We want to contribute to changing that perception by having some of our incredibly talented women technology leaders share their experience and mentor women in this program. Ultimately, we want CIRA to be an employer of choice for more women in tech to come, stay and be empowered to do their best work.”
As a global leader in cybersecurity, Trend Micro emphasizes that “diversity is key to the innovation and advancements.”
“We are committed to helping women and gender-diverse talent learn the skills they need to advance their careers, make connections, and secure jobs with us, our partners, and any organization in the world in need of protection. We strongly believe that our partnership with Carleton University and the WiE&IT Program will bring closer attention to the cybersecurity industry and will inspire women to explore the exciting technology and career possibilities that this space offers.”
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