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Students complete a problem-based activity at a Women in Technology meeting. 

Project Increases Female Enrollment

The project has implemented strategies for recruiting and retaining females in advanced technology programs at six Southern Appalachian partner colleges. More than 1,300 people--students and educators at various levels--have learned innovative ways to recruit and retain women in STEM tech fields through the project's workshops and presentations. These strategies to narrow the gender equity enrollment and persistence gap among female college students were developed with a previous ATE grant. In addition to increasing female enrollment at five of the six partner colleges, the use of problem-based learning has improved male and female students' attainment of course objectives. 

About ATE

The National Science Foundation's Advanced Technological Education (ATE) program has been funding innovation at two-year colleges for over twenty years. With a focus on the education of technicians for the high-technology fields that drive our nation's economy, and strong partnerships between academic institutions and industry, ATE promotes improvement in the education of science and engineering technicians at the undergraduate and secondary school levels.

To learn more about ATE, please visit the NSF ATE program home page.

This project is improving technician training and increasing the number of highly skilled workers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) priority areas. The goals of the project are to increase the number of female students in nine programs and to implement the proven educational strategy of problem-based learning for all students. The following nine programs are being impacted:

  • Civil Engineering Technology
  • Computer Engineering Technology
  • Computer Information Technology
  • Electronics Engineering Technology
  • Information Systems Security
  • Mechanical Engineering Technology
  • Networking Technology
  • Surveying Technology
  • Sustainability Technology

The college is partnering with three school systems, industry partners, the YWCA (for community outreach) and benefitting from the best practices of two established ATE Centers: the South Carolina Advanced Technological Education (SCATE) National Resource Center and CyberWatch.

The Skilled Students Get Jobs project is based at Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College. Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College is a public two-year community college that was established in 1959 and is located in Asheville, North Carolina. The college offers more than 120 degrees, diplomas, and certificates in arts and sciences, engineering, criminal justice and law enforcement, business, computing, and more.


Pamela Silvers
Primary Investigator

Gender Equity Learning Community planning upcoming events.