In recognition of Native American Heritage Month this November, we are drawing attention to STEM and tech opportunities for Indigenous people. As of 2015, Native Americans made up only 0.3 percent of the engineering workforce despite representing 1.2 percent of the population. This number likely hasn’t shifted significantly since then, but targeted internships and scholarships in STEM have grown. STEM career growth is anticipated to be double that of other occupations by 2029, signaling the need for greater representation of Indigenous people in this field.
Technology and STEM Internships
Internships are critical to transitioning from academic to real-world skills and securing future jobs. One incredible resource for college students seeking STEM or tech internships is the American Indian Science and Engineering Society. This organization connects students with partner agencies for 10-week paid summer internships. Past internships have included positions with companies in computer and information technology.
Scholarships Supporting STEM Pathways
Scholarships enable students to fund their education during a time that should be devoted to school. There are numerous scholarships for Native people that can support their college aspirations in STEM. Still, it can be overwhelming to determine how to find them. The National Conference of State Legislatures has compiled a handy list of STEM scholarships for Alaskan Natives and Native Americans. One particular scholarship to check out is the Full Circle & Tribal College Scholarship.
Organizations Providing Tech Opportunities
Key STEM outreach organizations offer long-term support for Native people interested in tech fields. A great example is a group like Natives in Tech, which facilitates networking opportunities for technologists. You can also check out this list of notable organizations aimed at advancing the careers of Native Americans in tech.
At CMD-IT, programs focus on the inclusion of minorities and people with disabilities in computing and IT. Learn more about professional development initiatives here.