In my job as Civic Engagement Manager, I have the distinct pleasure of interacting with many amazing women who are influencing civic engagement and fueling innovation in Boston. In honor of Women’s History Month, Microsoft New England asked a number of inspiring women what empowers them. Check on their responses below and don’t forget to share and tweet these posts to spread the word about the great work these women are driving in Boston!
— Aimee Sprung, Civic Engagement Manager, Microsoft New England
The Massachusetts clean energy sector is thriving, but women are being left behind.
More than 8,000 clean energy jobs were created across the Commonwealth last year, but just 26 percent of those hired during this time were women. Though an improvement over previous years, this is a far cry from the 51 percent of the overall Massachusetts workforce that is women.
Across the globe we’re witnessing the serious consequences of climate change. We need to recruit the best and brightest minds to develop clean energy solutions to address these challenges. We must do all we can to make sure women play a bigger role. In order to be competitive, we’ll need everyone at the table working together on this challenge and how to address it.
Tasked with helping to grow the Commonwealth’s clean energy sector, MassCEC works to accelerate the success of clean energy technologies, companies and projects across the state. As we grow this industry, we’re keeping in mind that the growth should be for all – growth that crosses race, income and gender lines.
In an effort to address the gender gap, this year, MassCEC launched its new “Successful Women in Clean Energy” initiative with the goal of doing our part to address the gender disparity in our industry. This program will fund $125,000 in training for up 12 low- and moderate-income women earners to build sales careers in clean energy.
Women who enter the program will receive hands-on training in career readiness, financial literacy, work preparedness, and how to succeed in a male-dominated industry. Upon completion of the program, they will be placed in a six-month fellowship at a clean energy company in order to jump-start their careers.
The clean energy sector is dynamic, innovative and forward-thinking. Employers are looking for job candidates who share these traits. Through our “Successful Women in Clean Energy” initiative, MassCEC aims to foster collaboration between the businesses of tomorrow and the women who are energized to join them.
We work closely with the New England Women in Energy and Environment, a group focused on events and initiatives – like mentoring and networking – that promote women working in the energy and environmental fields. Their annual gala is on April 16 in Boston and features keynote address by Dr. Cheryl Martin, the former acting director of the U.S. Department of Energy’s technology investment arm, ARPA-E.
On Jan. 29, we hosted more than 100 students and women clean energy professionals at our offices for a networking event. The event sold out and student from across the state and as far as Vermont traveled to Boston to meet women working in the field and to learn how to advance their careers.
These are small steps but important ones. We hope they all serve as strong signals to employers that this is a critical challenge to address. Most importantly, we hope these efforts will inspire women to break into this growing space.
P.S. It’s a great time to be looking for a clean energy career in Massachusetts (visit our jobs board at http://www.masscec.com/jobs). The sector has grown by 47 percent since 2010 and employing more than 88,000 across the Commonwealth.