When I was in college, I stumbled headlong into what we call the “skills gap,” which is shorthand for what happens when social inequality is applied to the economy. I didn’t necessarily go looking for it, but there it was. Pursuing a chemical engineering degree at Virginia Tech, I looked around and noticed something: I was one of the only females in my class.
This isn’t news: we’ve known for a long time that women are underrepresented in the sciences. It’s also not news that this lack of diversity in higher education affects minorities generally. Meanwhile, professional fields like technology suffer from a shortage of skilled workers to fill available positions. Social problems plus a growing need for workers equals the skills gap, which costs companies more than $1.3 trillion per year.