STEM is Branching Out
An Occasional Series by Gregory O’Brien
President, International Technological University
Silicon Valley needs qualified professionals; and yet there are talented young people from underrepresented communities in the Bay Area who would aspire to be those qualified professionals but cannot access the needed education.
International Technological University (ITU) is branching out to help diversify Silicon Valley’s tech workforce through its American STEM InitiativeTM. ITU is developing collaborative partnerships with technology-based companies in Silicon Valley to expand the pool of qualified professionals from under-represented groups of Americans, particularly Hispanics, African Americans, Southeast Asian Americans, “Dreamers” and women.
ITU is seeking partnerships with Silicon Valley technology firms to identify, train, and support qualified and underrepresented US citizens and “Dreamers” through preparation and professional employment in Silicon Valley. In the collaborative model:
- ITU will provide a continuing 50% tuition scholarship and academic support services for American STEM InitiativeTM qualified students admitted to an ITU Master’s Degree program, so long as the student is in good standing and progressing towards the Master’s degree.
- ITU will recommend American STEM InitiativeTM graduate students to Silicon Valley companies as candidates for part-time internships. If the company accepts an American STEM InitiativeTM student, the company will be asked to provide a 50% tuition scholarship and a part-time paid internship for the first term of study. The student can use internship income to cover basic living expenses during his or her first term of graduate study.
- Students who successfully complete the first term of graduate study and part-time internship may be offered, at the company’s choosing, a part-time or full-time internship at that company during the remaining terms of graduate study.
- ITU will continue to provide a 50% tuition scholarship for students in good academic standing through completion of their Master’s Degree program. At the sponsoring company’s sole discretion, it may continue to provide tuition support for the student as well as a paid internship.
Students who successfully complete this program of graduate study plus internships and who earn their Master’s degree from ITU will be demonstrably qualified to enter the professional workforce in these trending fields. Because they have earned money and scholarship support during this period, these students may be able to earn their graduate degree without incurring student loan debt.
The American STEM InitiativeTM may offer a “win-win-win” strategy. Qualified students earn an accredited Master’s degree and gain practical training. Silicon Valley companies have access to highly qualified graduate student interns, who can be considered and recruited for continued employment in these companies. ITU has the opportunity to expand its base of well-qualified domestic students, adding diversity to its largely international graduate student body.
To learn more visit the American STEM InitiativeTMwebpage.