A recent report from Small Business Trends noted that women make-up less than 20 percent of U.S. tech jobs even though they comprise more than half of the U.S. workforce. That reality is certainly prevalent in East Tennessee where employers face challenges in attracting, training and retaining tech workers of all genders.
When the new Knoxville Technology Council (KTech) was founded, two of its stated goals were to address those challenges as well as promoting the region as a great place to live and work for those in the tech sector. Now, a new KTech initiative has just been announced. It’s something called Women in Tech (WIT), and the group’s first meet-up is scheduled for later this month.
“We’re really focused on how we elevate Knoxville as a place where females in technology jobs can thrive,” says Stephanie Flood, Chief Information Officer for Clayton. The relatively new resident of the Knoxville area – she’s been here three and one-half years – is leading the effort as a member of the KTech board of directors.
The inaugural WIT event is a “launch reception” from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. February 19 at The Chop House, 9700 Kingston Pike. Click here for more information and a registration link.
“This event is our initial call to action for people interested in becoming involved,” Flood explained, adding that WIT is a committee of KTech but also an internationally recognized organization that celebrates the role that technology plays in a woman’s business, career and life.
After the February 19 event, Flood said local activities in the upcoming year will involve several additional networking events, workshops, and a community service project later in 2020. Those already on the calendar include:
- A WIT-focused session during Knoxville’s annual CodeStock conference set for April 17 and 18 at the Knoxville Convention Center; and
- A May 12 workshop, titled “Build Your Brand in the Knox Tech Community” that is designed for those trying to hire females in the tech sector and for the recruiters who are involved in the process.
“We’re hopeful men will also join the WIT efforts,” Flood said.
Clayton, which is one of the founding members of KTech, is also hosting a workshop less than a week after the inaugural WIT event. Titled “Pursuing a Growth Culture,” it is scheduled from 2 to 5 p.m. February 24 at the Clayton Lodge on the corporation’s Blount County campus. The event is open to non-KTech members, according to Brandon Bruce. More details are available here.
Bruce added that there is a lot of enthusiasm in the community for the Women in Tech effort.