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University of Tampa Aims To Increase Women in Technology

The University of Tampa (UT) is joining the national effort to attract, increase and retain the number of women in technology fields by participating in The National Center for Women and Information Technology’s (NCWIT) Pacesetters program.

Launched in 2010, the Pacesetters program is designed to recruit untapped talent pools of technological women as well as retain women at risk of leaving their organizations -- commonly referred to as “net new.” The 2013-2015 initiative includes a two-year fast track program and a collaborative network of senior executives from 20 universities and 14 companies working to add almost 2,000 women to the U.S. technological field.

“Twenty-five percent of IT professionals are female,” says Natasha Veltri, assistant professor of information and technology management and lead on the NCWIT Pacesetters program at UT. The goal of the Information and Technology Management (ITM) Department at UT is to increase female enrollment in the management and information systems program (MIS) from 23 percent to 50 percent.

To heighten that effort, UT’s ITM professors are practicing “in-reach” -- connecting with students during early college years, learning about their career and technological interests, and introducing them to classes, opportunities, industry connections and mentors so that students can explore the field.

By 2020, an estimated 1.4 million technology jobs will be added to the workforce. With 56 percent of women in computing and technology leaving jobs at the mid-career level, women in technology represent a significant value-add to companies.

“We encourage students to learn computing and pursue careers in this field; this way we can address the IT shortage and create a new pool of qualified, educated workers,” says Veltri.

Veltri also reaches to her network of IT professionals who have been successful within the field to serve as role models to students. “There are many female professionals who are passionate about this issue and who want to serve. We can support students considering a career in IT and can share our experiences with them by using our business connections.”

ITM works closely with the business community in Tampa Bay including Tampa Bay Technology Leadership Association and Tampa Bay Technology Forum. They also have an advisory board that keeps updated with the industry’s needs in order to prepare students for workforce leadership.

Each month, the Office of Career Services lists several openings for IT positions. “We don’t have enough candidates to fill those roles,” says Veltri.

“The innovation in the IT field has been tremendous in the last four years, and for us to continue the innovation, we need the right supply of talent. For us to provide our region with the right talent, we have to grow this locally. That way we can attract new employers.”

ITM is additionally working to increase interest and career development for females in technology by partnering with Tampa Bay’s technology professionals and utilizing UT’s Office of Career Services to introduce students to internships and career opportunities. ITM also provides a hands-on technology and computing platform to middle and high school students through their Get Smart program.

“There is a pipeline of talent, and we can contribute by developing local talent to grow Tampa Bay's industries, businesses, and IT field in particular.”

Visit the website for details on all of the University of Tampa’s information and technology management degrees. For more information on the Pacesetters program, contact Natasha Veltri via email or at 813.257.3970.

Writer: Kaye Brown
Source: Natasha Veltri, University of Tampa
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  • University of Tampa
    401 W. Kennedy Blvd.
    Tampa, Florida 33606 Website
    The University of Tampa, a private university situated along the Hillsborough River in downtown Tampa, enrolls students from more than 100 countries around the globe. The university has approximately 6,200 students and offers undergraduate and ...

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