BOSSIER PARISH, LA (KSLA) - The Bossier Chamber of Commerce will award nearly 10 special scholarships to female students planning to pursue careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math).
STEM has become a focal point in curriculum over the years and now more women than ever are getting involved, says Chamber Director Lisa Johnson.
"The statistics show us that at a national level, women make up 50% of those who have a graduate degree. But only 29% are in a STEM-related field," said Johnson.
The Chamber created The Bossier Innovates Foundation to provide funding for the scholarships.
Johnson says there will be over 250 people who will attend a fundraiser luncheon at The Hilton Garden Inn Thursday.
"We'll have about 100 students there. We have about 250 that are coming," said Johnson. "The rest of the folks are business people that are in these related fields and are there to be able to talk to these students and encourage them."
The keynote speaker will be Louisiana State Senator Sharon Hewitt, herself an engineer, who recently passed a bill to create a STEM Advisory Council for the state.
Johnson says this push will hopefully help bring more future graduates back to the ArkLaTex to bring more jobs and pump money into the local economy.
"We're all from different generations and we all have different thoughts, but the future workforce, or the 'Millennials', and those that are coming behind them, their opportunities are much different, their cultural needs are different, and we want to are sure that we're meeting those needs," said Johnson.
Following Thursday's luncheon, an Innovation Showcase will take place at the Bossier Parish School of Technology and Innovative Learning for young entrepreneurs and professionals in the area.