SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Zakia Bouachraoui, Liz McMillan, Carmen Gonzalez, Roger Strukhoff, David Linthicum

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Leading Corporations, Professional Women, and College Students to Attend the Women in STEM Summit on October 21 in Boston, MA

IIR today announced the Women in STEM Idea Exchange Summits, a series of interactive events designed to retain more women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) fields by facilitating engagement, collaboration and learning among all key STEM stakeholders. The need to retain women in STEM fields is a national priority. By 2018 the U.S. will begin to face a skills shortage of over a quarter of a million STEM workers, and while women are 48 percent of the U.S. workforce, only 24 percent of them are in STEM jobs. The Women in STEM Idea Exchange Summits are designed to help close this gap. The inaugural summit will be held in Boston, MA on October 21, 2014 at Bentley University, followed by summits in New York City, San Francisco and Washington D.C.

According to Debra Chipman, chief executive officer of IIR, the producer of the Women in STEM Summits, “Currently 59% of US College Degrees are earned by women yet only 12% of those are in STEM majors. We designed the Women in STEM Idea Exchange Summits to help trim this deficit by enabling young women with an interest and passion for STEM curriculum to secure the mentoring support from STEM women and corporations, to stay the course and graduate with a STEM degree, and to secure employment in STEM careers. Our growing platform of STEM products will facilitate the necessary learning, engagement and collaboration among all key stakeholders to produce a STEM proficient workforce that will ultimately further US innovation and growth.”

For corporations, the Women in STEM Idea Exchange Summits provide the opportunity to make one-to-one connections with potential employees, feed mentoring and internship program pipelines, maximize ROI of K-12 STEM investments, increase STEM retention rates, as well as promote internal initiatives in support of women in the workplace.

For college students, Women in STEM Idea Exchange Summits provide a unique opportunity to learn about corporate internships, mentoring programs and the plethora of jobs and rewarding career paths that are open to STEM educated young women.

The unique format of the summit will feature best practice examples from leading local employers about STEM investing that is efficient, effective, and sustainable. This is an opportunity for women in STEM professions to share their stories with each other and to engage in meaningful dialog about how they can help fill the pipeline of women employees at their company today and in the future.

These companies will also make short presentations about their corporate culture, D&I programs, and types of STEM jobs available and make a case for why they are a great place to work. Students will then have the opportunity to meet with company employees, ask questions and share their thoughts on the ideal corporate environment.

Commenting on the need for more engagement between students and corporations that drive an uptake in STEM interest, leading STEM advocate, Julie Kantor, Chief Partnership Officer, STEMconnector™, Million Women Mentors, said, "The Women in STEM Idea Exchange Summits are a significant addition to the STEM movement and will help increase student engagement with corporations and mentors who are able to inspire greater interest among women in STEM fields."

The Women in STEM Summits will provide an umbrella under which all key STEM stakeholders can align and advance their STEM interests and initiatives. The need for these types of summits is critical, as William Guenther, Chairman, CEO and Founder, Mass Insight Education, points out that "we need more students who are inspired to take math, science and the arts seriously. To do that requires an academic strategy to put good teachers in front of all kids and a wraparound strategy with corporate and community partners to show the students that their academic work matters in the real world. One without the other will only lead to marginal improvements.

“The Women in STEM Summit series is an important addition to the STEM movement, and will help bridge the gap between real world corporate needs and students' aspirations for meaningful and rewarding careers,” he added.

About IIR

Founded in 1973 and acquired by Informa in 2005, IIR has global reach with the ability to draw upon extensive market knowledge and deep industry relationships. IIR delivers best-in-class events, action-oriented insights, and critical connections to support our communities’ objectives. Via live and virtual events, IIR creates year round opportunities to help our customers achieve competitive advantage. By facilitating connections between companies, individuals and communities, IIR drives innovation and growth by inspiring excellence and taking productivity to a higher level. We deliver the connections with the communities that drive your business forward.

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