At a time when women account for half of the college-educated workforce but constitute just 29 percent of the workforce in science and engineering occupations, Raytheon and Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) are collaborating on a new initiative to fuel the pipeline of female leaders in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).

Through a multiyear commitment from Raytheon, GSUSA will launch the first national computer science program, as well as Cyber Challenge, for middle school and high school girls in the United States, with the potential to reach nearly half a million girls in grades 6–12, many of them from military families. The initiative will prepare more girls in the targeted age group to pursue computer science careers, including in cybersecurity, robotics, data science, and artificial intelligence.

This is the right action at the right time with the right partners. For example, the majority of millennial women say they would’ve been more interested in a cybersecurity career if they’d had access to more information about and training in STEM during middle and high school, according to a 2017 survey commissioned by Raytheon, Forcepoint, and the National Cyber Security Alliance. In addition, findings from the Girl Scout Research Institute’s How Girl Scout STEM Programs Benefit Girls (2016) reveal that girls who participate in Girl Scout STEM programs are significantly more interested in pursuing a STEM career upon program completion than they are prior to starting such a program.

The initial phase of the computer science program will be run as a pilot in select geographies in early 2018, with national implementation beginning in fall 2018, and the Cyber Challenge will be piloted in 2019.

About Raytheon
Raytheon Company, with 2016 sales of $24 billion and 63,000 employees, is a technology and innovation leader specializing in defense, civil government and cybersecurity solutions. With a history of innovation spanning 95 years, Raytheon provides state-of-the-art electronics, mission systems integration, C5I™ products and services, sensing, effects, and mission support for customers in more than 80 countries. Raytheon is headquartered in Waltham, Massachusetts. Follow Raytheon on Twitter.