Each year, as the Chamber Foundation hosts the Talent Forward national workforce conference, we focus on talent—educating and training, talent tech and data, recruiting, hiring, and upskilling. With no shortage of talent challenges, the opportunities for informative discussion are endless. While a day devoted to dissecting talent-related topics could focus solely on the problems, Talent Forward is all about the solutions.
The past year has been a momentous one for women. Following the global #MeToo movement, there have been many moments of progress. A record number of women won U.S. congressional seats. Ethiopia elected its first female president along with a new cabinet that is half female.
As a nation, we decided long ago that when a business opens its doors to the public, it should be open to everyone on the same terms. But shockingly, many Americans still can’t be sure they will be treated equally when they seek goods or services from businesses in their local communities.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were approximately 8.6 million STEM jobs in May 2015, with the highest jobs in software development, user support, and systems analysts. Despite the high number of jobs, the lack of skilled workers in the labor force allow these positions to go unfilled. To make matters worse, the existing STEM workforce lacks diversity among women and minorities, not representing the emerging workforce of women and underrepresented groups.