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2013.05.28 > For Immediate Release
contact: Charley Reed - University Communications
phone: 402.554.2129 - email: cdreed@unomaha.edu 2013.05.28 >

contact: Amanda Rucker - College of IS&T
phone: 402.554.2070 - email: arucker@unomaha.edu

UNO College of Information Science and Technology Announces $400K Fund to Increase Number of Women in IT
Community-Driven Task Force Will Apply Initiatives Designed to Address IT Workforce Deficit and Diversify IT Talent Pool in Omaha

Omaha - Even though they make up over half of the national population, women hold just 25 percent of all computing-related jobs in the U.S. today. The University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) College of Information Science and Technology (IS&T) announced an endowed fund to address this problem by recruiting and retaining women for IT degree programs.

UNO’s new “Women in IT Fund,” a strategic partnership with community leaders, (refer to list below) seeks to raise $400,000 for the purposes of recruiting female students and creating environments to expose junior high and high school girls to this dynamic and growing field.

In order to meet an aggressive goal of doubling the number of women enrolled in UNO IS&T programs by 2015, more than half of the funds will be raised over the next four months.

“Despite the great information technology career opportunities in Omaha and beyond, misconceptions about IT keep many from entering the profession,” said Hesham Ali, dean of the College of IS&T. “Because of our new fund, we have the ability to open doors of opportunity for young women to realize their passions of an education that includes information technology and ability be the next generation of business leaders.”

According to Careerlink, IT is one of the most in-demand career fields in the Omaha area. As the city’s premier metropolitan university and a national leader in IT education, UNO is dedicated to addressing the needs of the Omaha and surrounding metropolitan areas.

Additionally, UNO seeks to make sure its program options provide opportunity to students from across the world. The Women in IT Fund addresses a desire by UNO to ensure careers in the growing multidisciplinary IT profession are accessible to all our students.

“This is a great opportunity for the Omaha community to pause on what an IT career is in 2013 and how different the roles and opportunities are today," said Sue Thaden, chair of the Women in IT Fund taskforce and president/CEO of Client Resources Inc. (CRi). “Research has shown that diversity in teams will lead to highly competitive products and more innovative solutions. By talking with young women to align their strengths and interests with the current career options in information technology, the endowed fund will help build higher performing teams for our Nebraska-based companies."

The Women in IT Fund will be implemented by a taskforce of Omaha IT leaders during a two-phase, five-year timeline. These phases include:

Phase I $250,000 (Next Four Months)
- Will fund activities designed to introduce young women to IT, including an immersion experience for middle and high school girls, the IS&T National Center for Women and Information Technology Aspirations Award, participation at the Grace Hopper Conference, a mentorship program for IS&T female students and funds to specifically recruit women and other minorities into IS&T programs.
- $70,000 in scholarships for women at the undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate levels who are interested in pursuing IT related degrees at the UNO College of IS&T
- $125,000 endowment to ensure funding of the above scholarships.

Phase II $150,000 (Following Two Years)
- Will endow additional scholarships and encourage continued participation in IT activities and programs.

The Women in IT Fund taskforce members include:
- Sue Thaden, taskforce chair
- Susan Courtney, vice president of information services and chief information officer for BlueCross BlueShield
- Lynne Baldwin, president of Baldwin, Hackett & Meeks Inc.
- Karen Krabbe, assistant vice president of systems engineering for Union Pacific Railroad
- Melissa Crawford, senior vice president for Markets, Products and Technology of Physicians Mutual
- Philip R. Ruhlman, chief information officer for Gallup
- Tom Sivo, chief technology officer for Interpublic Group of Companies
- Scott Tylski, vice president of information technology for ConAgra Foods
- Terry Hanna, director of development for the University of Nebraska Foundation
- Hesham H. Ali
- Deepak Khazanchi, associate dean for academic affairs and community engagement & internationalization officer, College of IS&T

For questions about the Women in IT Fund or how to support this initiative, contact Amanda Rucker, communications specialist for the College of IS&T, at 402.554.2070 or arucker@unomaha.edu.

For media requests, contact Charley Reed, media relations coordinator for UNO, at 402.554.2129 or cdreed@unomaha.edu.

The College of Information Science and Technology (IS&T) at the University of Nebraska at Omaha represents the joint efforts of the University of Nebraska, the State of Nebraska, and private industry to address the growing global needs for knowledgeable professionals in Information Technology (IT). The College was established at UNO in 1996 to meet the growing demand for IT graduates in the Omaha metropolitan and surrounding area.

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The University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) is Nebraska’s metropolitan university. The core values of the institution place students at the center of all that the university does; call for the campus to strive for academic excellence; and promote community engagement that transforms and improves urban, regional, national and global life. UNO, inaugurated in 1968, emerged from the Municipal University of Omaha, established in 1931, which grew out of the University of Omaha founded in 1908.

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