Women Tech Council today launched the Student Innovators program to increase the number of women in STEM fields and careers by helping more women complete STEM degrees.

To do this, WTCSI will integrate students with industry, provide visibility and leadership opportunities, facilitate mentoring experiences and increase access to workforce pathways.

"With more than 40 percent of the women in STEM degrees dropping out during their second or third year because they lack students, teachers or role models to relate to and engage with, there is an enormous need to support these women." said Cydni Tetro, president of the Women Tech Council and a computer science graduate. "WTCSI is designed to reach these students at this critical time, and by doing so increase the number of women in STEM fields by integrating them into a community that will help them become successful."

In partnership with collegiate, government and industry partners, WTCSI will create a model that increases the opportunities for women in STEM. Women currently represent more than 50 percent of the workforce and more than 50 percent of college graduates, yet make up less than 15 percent of STEM graduates. By launching this program statewide, WTCSI will help women across Utah already enrolled in STEM programs be more successful and complete their degrees.

"We created the Talent Ready Utah program to accelerate partnerships between industry and education to ensure that we have a workforce that can participate in our growing technology economy," said Ginger Chinn, managing director of the Governor's Office of Economic Development (GOED). "The Women Tech Council Student Innovators program is focused on a critical area for the state—increasing the number of women graduates in STEM. This program will provide a model that increases our retention of students and that can be a model for other states in the country."

The founding collegiate partners for WTCSI are the University of UtahBrigham Young University, Utah Valley University and Southern Utah University. Key founding government and industry partners include USTAR, GOED, Utah Women in Higher Education Network, the Department of Workforce Services, Dell EMC, Myriad, RizePoint, Contravent, Workfront, IM Flash, Worker's Compensation Fund, Health Catalyst, Lucid Software and Enablemint.

To learn more about the WTCSI program, visit www.womentechcouncil.com/programs/student-innovators