With Jamboree’s mission to transform lives and strengthen communities through life-enhancing resident services at our affordable properties, we often connect with partners for programs to benefit our residents. So it was unexpected when a group of partners approached us, presenting a fully formed plan with Jamboree women who live at our properties as the intended recipients.
In a unique collaboration, OC STEM Initiative offered to provide free AutoCAD training, powerful commercial software used for 2D and 3D computer-aided design (CAD) and drafting. AutoCAD is frequently used in STEM-related fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.
Traditionally, there’s been a shortage of women in STEM fields, to a greater degree than many other professions. According to U.S. Census Bureau statistics, women in fields commonly referred to as STEM made up seven percent of that workforce in 1970, a figure that by 2011 had grown to just 26 percent of the science workforce. In a world of increasing diversity, there’s a greater focus on encouraging, mentoring, and supporting women in their education and professional lives. Many Jamboree residents hold degrees, certifications, or professional licenses from outside the U.S. and must re-qualify to work in their designated field of expertise here in the states.
Ben Sanchez, Jamboree Senior Resident Services Coordinator, took the lead in recruiting Jamboree residents, with information sessions held onsite at multiple Jamboree communities. Other obstacles were overcome in order for the women to participate: transportation to and from the class, childcare was provided, as well as breakfast and lunch.
Resident Rana Bahrani, who received a degree more than six years ago in her home country of Iraq, saw the training as a good opportunity, and enjoyed the complexity of 3D drawing. Sarosh Akbar, currently working on a bachelor’s degree at California State University, Fullerton, said that the childcare and meals were the most important factors allowing her to participate in the program. As pictured above, Jamboree residents Angelica Sinajon, Sarosh Akbar, Rana Bahrani received certificates and new laptops as part of OC STEM Initiative’s WATT Program.
Twenty women completed the five-week class, hosted by the Orange County Department of Education at their campus in Costa Mesa, California. Upon graduation from the class – known as OC STEM Initiative’s WATT (Women Advancing Through Technology) – each student was given a new laptop pre-loaded with AutoCAD, and a customized carrying bag.