ABB works to fill talent pipeline with Girl Scouts… Yes, really.
ABB supports STEM activities to spark girls' interest in technical fields.
According to the World Economic Forum, less than 30% of the world’s science researchers are women. By now, that probably isn’t news, but it’s still a challenge especially for companies like ABB that employ tens of thousands of people in jobs that are heavy on STEM (science, technology, engineering and math).
So, how can we attract more women in STEM?
Employers can adopt policies like expanded maternity leave and flexible work hours to attract more female candidates, but if there aren’t enough women with the requisite education and experience, they’ll still be facing the same problem. We have to start earlier—much earlier—to grow the number of women in STEM.
ABB piloted a program with the Girl Scouts – Diamonds of Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas to spark girls’ interest in STEM. Girl Scouts earn the ABB Girls in STEM patch by working together with their troop – or on their own – to complete a STEM activity. building cardboard boats. The program went virtual due to COVID, allowing nearly 1,000 Girl Scouts from 31 states to earn the ABB-branded patch. Building on the success of this program, ABB is now expanding the patch program to Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta.
Working with the Girl Scouts was an easy choice for ABB because Girl Scouts have one of the largest pipelines of future female leaders, reaching girls in nearly every U.S. zip code. Girl Scouts are more likely to participate in STEM activities than non–Girl Scouts and in the process, they become better problem-solvers and critical thinkers, and more effective leaders. ABB plans to expand to other markets in the future.
Encompass Women, one of several employee resource groups within ABB, teamed up with local Girl Scout councils to volunteer this fall. ABB Encompass Women hosted 10 virtual events, leading 470 Girl Scouts through hands-on activities and speaking about their career in STEM.
“Partnerships like the one we have with ABB that provide both volunteer and financial resources beyond the traditional one-time event sponsorship are so important to the sustainable enhancement of programs that benefit our girls and our partners,” says Dawn Prasifka, president and CEO of Girl Scouts – Diamonds. “This STEM partnership is so timely for us and for businesses like ABB, who will benefit from being proactive in growing and supporting a robust pipeline of future employees with critical skills.”
Additionally, ABB is expanding its partnership with the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) to inspire the next generation of engineers. ABB sponsored SWE’s “Invent It. Build It.” program to spark girls’ interest in engineering and cultivate each girl’s capacity in STEM.
The aim of these initiatives is to demystify STEM and make it a viable choice for girls both in school and in the workplace. With more girls pursuing their interest in STEM as Girl Scouts, more will pursue degrees in technical subjects and find jobs in technical fields. Ultimately companies like ours will benefit from a wider, more competitive talent pool.