Power of Us: Increasing Female Enrollment and Retention in Career and Technical Education Programs

The low participation of women in technical fields has been a matter of concern for many years. Workforce-diversity data, from several major technology companies, show a significant underrepresentation of women in technical jobs. Industry points to the narrow pipeline of women pursuing degrees in technical fields as the primary cause of this issue. This project aims to address this issue by implementing measures to increase female enrollment and retention in Durham Technical Community Colleges most male-dominated career and technical education programs of study. The average percentage of females enrolled in the targeted areas is only 13.5%, meaning that females, who represent 53% of the overall student population, are vastly underrepresented in the pursuit of such degrees. The project will use both proven and novel strategies and activities, as well as equitable and inclusive practices that other institutions can use to increase female enrollment and retention in traditionally male-dominated programs of study.

This project will leverage Durham Technical Community College's new makerspace to hold events and provide a place where students can gather to work, study, and socialize. Making the "Power of Us" brand visible in the makerspace will contribute to the Colleges efforts to create a makerspace that is rooted in equity and inclusion, where all voices are welcome. This project will offer engaging, female-led, female-focused learning opportunities; provide support services that are tailored to the needs of female students; and otherwise, create an environment where female students can thrive in the targeted programs. Through its commitment to this project the College seeks to root the makerspace in the ideals of equity and inclusion, making it a welcoming space for all. This inclusive makerspace model will be one that other colleges and organizations, both inside and outside North Carolina, can utilize to create makerspaces that are welcoming to all.

ATE Award Metadata

Award Number
Funding Status
ATE Start Date
October 15th, 2021
ATE Expiration Date
September 30th
ATE Principal Investigator
Jacequeline Mitchell
Primary Institution
Durham Technical Community College
Record Type
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