Gizmo Garden's support is focused on our home state of Maine. Why? For every new Computer Science graduate in Maine, there are roughly twelve in-state open computing jobs. The Maine Department of Labor projects that computing jobs will grow 9% over the next decade, coming in slightly behind healthcare jobs (also about 9%) as the clear leaders in percentage projected growth. Maine employers need more technology workers.
Maine's Big Gender Gap
Maine's technology education gender gap is significantly worse than that of the nation as a whole. Since we're projected to have so many computer jobs to fill, we need both boys and girls preparing for them.
In 2016, only 14% of AP exam takers for Computer Science A in Maine were female, compared to the national average of 23%. This trend persists at the college level, where in Maine, 14% of those receiving an engineering degree are women, ranking us 47th in the US (Puerto Rico and Massachusetts lead with 27%.)
This gender education gap paves the way toward a gender pay gap in adulthood. A Maine woman working full time earns about 79¢ for every dollar the average Maine man makes. The fact that men are more likely to go into high-paying fields like computer science and engineering, a phenomenon called occupational segregation, is a “major factor behind the pay gap,” with some sources quantifying it as being responsible for 63% of the gap. The resulting lack of economic power disadvantages Maine's women and their families in numerous ways.
We must take steps to ensure that girls and other underrepresented groups are participating (in computer science) at a rate proportional to their representation in the school population.
-- Maine STEM Council Education & Workforce Plan 2.0