2013.10.02 > For Immediate Release
contact: Charley Reed - University Communications
phone: 402.554.2129 - email: firstname.lastname@example.org
contact: Amanda Rucker - College of Information Science and Technology
phone: 402.554.2070 - email: email@example.com
UNO College of Information Science and Technology Surpasses Phase One Goal to Increase Number of Women in IT
Task Force Raises Over $250,000 to Fund and Support Initiatives Designed to Improve the Omaha IT Workforce
Omaha - After only four months, the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO)’s Women in IT Initiative announces today that it has surpassed its Phase One goal of raising $250,000 – more than half of the program’s two-year goal of raising $400,000 to be used towards encouraging women to invest in information technology education and careers.
The Women in IT Initiative was launched in May of this year by the UNO College of Information Science and Technology (IS&T). The program seeks to double the number of women enrolled in UNO IS&T programs by 2015 and help fill the IT workforce deficit in Omaha.
“We are excited to surpass this important milestone, as it shows a deep commitment from the Omaha community to not only fill the IT talent pool, but to enhance the potential of the IT profession,” said Hesham Ali, dean of the College of IS&T. “While misconceptions about the IT profession stand in the way of many promising young women from entering the workforce, our Initiative is dedicated to introducing them to what a career in IT actually looks like and how it fits into their future goals.”
By the year 2020, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects there will 4.2 million jobs in computing and information technology in the United States. Despite this expected growth, available qualified IT professionals low and women comprise just 25 percent of all computing-related occupations in the United States.
“My daughter’s experience in the IT workforce has seen 30 years of a dramatically unequal gender balance,” said Frank Hartranft, who, with his wife Shirley, recently created a scholarship with the Women in IT Initiative in his daughter’s name. “We are excited to see the economic increase here in Omaha, and believe a lot of this boom has to do with the successful programs UNO is pushing forward. We are honored to support the Women in IT Initiative and help even more young women enter the IT workforce.”
Hartranft, who worked at UNO teaching physics and in computing for 28 years, has a deep history with UNO. His daughter received her undergraduate and graduate degrees in UNO’s Computer Science and IT programs nearly 30 years ago.
In order to fill the need for more qualified IT professionals, the Women in IT Initiative has built a plan based off of proven programs from around the country and tailored to meet Omaha’s unique needs.
Starting immediately, the $250,000 raised during Phase I will fund a multitude of activities designed to introduce young women to IT. These activities include an immersion experience for middle and high school girls, the IS&T National Center for Women and Information Technology Aspirations Award, participation by current IS&T women in the Grace Hopper Conference, a mentorship program for IS&T female students and funds to specifically recruit young women into IS&T programs.
Some of these funds will also include scholarships for women at the undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate levels who are interested in pursuing IT related degrees at IS&T. Phase II will encompass the final two years of the task force which will raise the additional $150,000 needed to extend the progress made in Phase I, endow additional scholarships, and encourage continued participation in IT activities and programs.
“A great opportunity remains for young people interested in an IT career, no matter what their backgrounds happen to be,” said Sue Thaden, chair of the Women in IT Fund taskforce and president/CEO of Client Resources Inc. (CRi). “As one of the fastest growing job sectors in the U.S., the Women in IT Initiative will ensure that not only are we filling the talent pipeline with qualified individuals, but that we are adding to the diversity the sector needs.”
The Women in IT Initiative will be funded by private donations and implemented by the NU Foundation in consultation with the Women in IT task force. These donors include:
• Baldwin, Hackett & Meeks, Inc.
• Blue Cross Blue Shield of Nebraska
• ConAgra Foods
• Client Resources, Inc.
• Frank and Shirley Hartranft
• Interpublic Group of Companies
• The Lozier Foundation
• Northrop Grumman Corporation
• Physicians Mutual
• Jim and Shirley Young Family Foundation
• Women Investing in Nebraska (WIN), established by the University of Nebraska Foundation
The Women in IT Fund taskforce members include:
• Sue Thaden, taskforce chair
• Lynne Baldwin, president of Baldwin, Hackett & Meeks Inc.
• Susan Courtney, vice president of information services and chief information officer for BlueCross BlueShield
• Melissa Crawford, senior vice president for markets, products and technology for Physicians Mutual
• Karen Krabbe, assistant vice president of systems engineering for Union Pacific Railroad
• 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. To reach Susan Thaden, chair of the task force, contact Shannon Crist at 402.504.6410.
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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