The first International Girls in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Day at Baker College’s Muskegon campus opened the door to opportunity for the nearly 60 eighth-graders from Muskegon County schools who attended.
Based on post-event surveys, it appears the event met its goal of sparking an interest in ICT among the attendees. Several noted they are going to join their school’s robotic team. Most found the experience applicable to many facets of their lives, and, for one, the workshop led to the realization: “Girls can do anything a man can do, including engineering.”
“There is critical need for trained talent in the ICT industry now – male or female,” said Mark Verhoeven, Baker College of Muskegon program director of networking and security. “However, females are an untapped resource – they are underrepresented in the industry and few are in our IT programs at Baker College.
“Females bring different perspectives and abilities that can enhance innovation. It’s most imperative females are included in the development process of new technology because they will most likely be among the end users. Plus, the ICT industry offers well-paid, challenging careers.”
In addition to Baker College, there were three signature sponsors “without whom this event would not be possible,” Verhoeven said. They are cPanel Inc., Arconic and ADAC Automotive. The event was free to the girls who were introduced to careers in ICT through hands-on projects and presentations by speakers in various professions and a Baker College student.