Vincennes University is teaming up with Indiana manufacturers to recruit more women into tech and engineering jobs.
The public school will sponsor 46 women to live in a dedicated dorm while pursuing two-year science, technology, engineering or math degrees next fall.
VU is offering a $20,000 housing scholarship for each woman to live in a new technology building dorm, and go to class there too. The 46 spots will go to incoming students who've been accepted at VU and declared a STEM major -- anything from advanced manufacturing to surveying.
Vice President for Finance Phil Rath says the housing aid is their latest effort to bridge a tough gap. He estimates fewer than 5 percent of their STEM students are female.
"It's just been a hard sell for us. It's just not typically a career that women seek," he says. "So we've reached out to Indiana Manufacturers Association, which has a large member base, and we said look, we need to have nominations that come from your members."
The trade group's members -- which range from Caterpillar to Kroger -- are asking employees to nominate daughters or local girls they know are interested in STEM. Companies aren't locked into hiring their nominees, but Rath hopes students will want to seek jobs back home.
"They're gonna stay there because they're close to families, where they grew up -- they're making great money," Rath says. "And even if they another opportunity would come up, chances are, they're not gonna leave their home base."
He says they'll announce their first selection for the program, from Porter County, soon.
Nominations can be made to Diana Hatton at 812-888-5101 or firstname.lastname@example.org.