Shaping the Future of STEM: High School Internship Blueprint

As a global health technology company that recruits world-class scientists and engineers, Abbott knows women are a critical factor in solving the world’s biggest problems with smart, imaginative thinking.

But in the United States, women make up just 24% of the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) workforce, way below most other sectors. There are a lot of reasons for that: One of them is high school girls value creative thinking and want a career that has a positive impact on the world – but don’t always know how science and engineering can give them both, due to a lack of exposure.

Abbott hopes to change that.

Abbott know that hands-on, creative experiences encourage girls to engage in STEM, which is why it continues to invest in its high school internship program, which was founded in 2012. The internship demystifies what it means to work in STEM by giving students the opportunity to contribute to Abbott’s life-changing technologies alongside engineers and scientists who look like them.

Because Abbott chooses students from diverse schools near the cities with Abbott locations, more than two-thirds of these students from across the U.S. are women and more than half are from other underrepresented groups. About half of them end up in Abbott’s college internship program, and Abbott has recently hired its first high school internship alumni on as full-time employees. Five of the seven are women.

To encourage other companies to start similar high school internship programs, Abbott partnered with STEMconnector to produce a high school internship blueprint detailing what has worked well for Abbott so far and providing guidance about how other companies can launch similar programs. STEMconnector and Abbott are sharing the blueprint with any company interested in starting a high school internship program of their own. It’s going to take a village of science-based companies, committed to exposing young women to STEM early on, to change the statistics.
Join us in this movement.

Building and sustaining successful programs and initiatives in STEM talent development, whether through working with youth programing, targeting hidden talent pools, or developing the skills of early workforce entrants from overlooked communities, requires patience, drive, and long-term thinking. This reference guide showcases only the beginning of what we know we can accomplish as a network, and we look forward to continuing to share and learn from each of the organizations we are fortunate enough to work with. Together, we will eliminate the nuanced gaps in STEM talent.

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