STEMentors Silicon Valley @ Foothill College
Silicon Valley’s STEM workforce does not represent the diversity of its population. While roughly 67% of Silicon Valley residents identify as White or Asian, in 2014 these groups represented 88% of employees at the top 75 Silicon Valley tech firms. Conversely, approximately 26.5% of Silicon Valley residents identified as Hispanic or Latino and yet comprised only 6% of the workforce at these companies. STEM mentoring can be an important lever for sparking the inspiration that leads students to pursue jobs in science and tech, and we believe that it should be as widely available to and utilized by girls, low-income students and underrepresented students of color as it is to other students.
We are developing a coalition of committed leaders who will set a vision for increasing the quantity and quality of STEM mentoring opportunities available to Silicon Valley students underrepresented in STEM. Over the last year, a group of regional STEM stakeholders -- including schools, government, companies, youth-serving nonprofits, and colleges – have met regularly to generate ideas about the coalition’s goals, and how we can work together to achieve them. This coalition provides space for the community to troubleshoot challenges, celebrate successes, and combine resources to accomplish together what can be difficult for one organization to do alone -- bringing equitable access to STEM mentoring for every Silicon Valley student. The STEMentors SV initiative is a member of the US2020 City Network, a group of ten regions across the country that have pledged to work across sectors to grow the quality and quantity of local STEM mentoring.