Province Announces Investment in STEM Learning Opportunities for Women
“Post-secondary education is essential in today’s technology-driven global economy. Our economy is moving from recovery to sustained growth and this investment will help us continue to propel us forward by ensuring women have more entry points into well-paying jobs,” Doug Schweitzer, Minister of Employment, Economy and Innovation.
The Government of Alberta is investing $1 million in these scholarship programs. Bow Valley College and NorQuest College will receive $400,000 in funding, while Yellowhead Tribal College will receive $200,000. The scholarships are expected to cover a portion of tuition and help recipients pay for the services they need to be successful in school, including school supplies, technology, laptops and accessories, childcare, and transportation.
“The Alberta 2030 strategic plan focuses on improving access for students, especially among underrepresented groups,” added Demetrios Nicolaides, Minister of Advanced Education. “That’s why it’s so great to see that more supports for women pursuing STEM careers are available at institutions across the province. We will continue to make strategic investments to ensure that women, and all Albertans, have access to the education and skills development opportunities they need to have fulfilling careers now and in the future.
Officials say the funding is part of the government’s commitment to support women’s economic recovery as part of Alberta’s recovery plan. They further point out that this follows the recent investment of $1.9 million in a two-year research and innovation grant to support skills development training for women’s success in the IT sector.
“On International Women’s Day, we celebrate all that women have done to build Alberta,” said Whitney Issik, Associate Minister for the Status of Women.. “This day is also a call to find new ways to ensure the success of women in school, work and in life. These scholarships will help more women pursue fulfilling, in-demand careers that will help build Alberta’s future.
“Through this investment, the Government of Alberta is expanding the impact of the Women in STEM and Persons Case government scholarships, which are supporting record numbers of students this year with nearly $1 million in funding” , added Issik.
Additional supports for women pursuing studies in fields in which they are underrepresented would be available through the Government of Alberta’s Women in STEM and Persons Case Scholarships.
As part of Alberta’s recovery plan, government officials say there has been a one-time increase in funding for these scholarships to help more students pursue post-secondary education. This year, 400 students are receiving $2,500 each, which is a record amount of funding provided through these scholarship streams.
- STEM professions have proven to be economically resilient during the COVID-19 pandemic, but women are underrepresented in STEM fields.
- Women make up half of Alberta’s population, but make up only about a third of enrollments and graduates in STEM programs and only about a quarter of employees in STEM fields.
- In the tech sector alone, women in Alberta make up only 25% of workers, yet they make up 45% of the entire workforce.
- Post-secondary education has proven essential in today’s technology-driven global economy and there is a direct correlation between education and the economic success of communities.
- Alberta has led the country for five straight months with its female employment rate. In January 2022, this employment rate reached 60.7%.
- 60% of minimum wage earners in Alberta are women.
- Almost 90% of women aged 15 and over in Alberta work in the service sector, such as retail and hospitality.
Janis Irwin, NDP Critic for Women’s Issues, issued the following statement in response to UCP’s comments on women in STEM fields:
“While scholarships for women pursuing studies in STEM fields are welcome, this $1 million announcement falls far short of providing the help that female students will need.
“UCP has raised tuition fees and increased interest on student debt. UCP’s own budget projects that from 2019 to 2025, Alberta’s total student debt will more than double to $5.3 billion.
“Students also face soaring car insurance and utility costs thanks to UCP. Women entering STEM continue to face significant financial barriers that these scholarships are not enough to overcome. »