New “Technology Pathways Initiative” Tackles the U.S. Tech Workforce Crisis

SAN JOSE, Calif. – December 5, 2016 The Center for Advancing Women in Technology (CAWIT) has launched a first-of-its-kind initiative to close the troubling gap between U.S. college men and women who graduate with computing or information technology degrees. CAWIT created the Technology Pathways Initiative (TPI) in direct response to rising U.S. demand for workers with the knowledge and skills required to fill an estimated 1.1 million computing jobs by the year 2024.

According to CAWIT Founder and President, Dr. Belle W. Wei, “Women are drastically underrepresented in the nation’s technology talent pool even though they now make up more than half of all college graduates. The Technology Pathways Initiative is a catalyst for systemic change, from campus to career, to educate more women innovators for the Digital Age.” Dr. Wei is Carolyn Guidry Chair in Engineering Education and Innovating Learning, and former Dean of the College of Engineering at San José State University.

TPI Universities

TPI Technology Pathways Initiative

TPI Technology Pathways Initiative

Spearheading the Technology Pathways Initiative are San Francisco State University, San José State University and the University of California, Berkeley—the San Francisco/Silicon Valley region’s top three public universities and major suppliers of local talent to its workforce. These schools are participating because of faculty interest in developing new and self-sustaining interdisciplinary degree programs and making them available to a broader cross-section of students.

  • Faculty at these schools are in various stages of creating and implementing the new degree programs, which integrate computing with biology, mathematics, cognitive science and other fields of study that have high female student enrollment. These fields increasingly benefit from innovative applications of technology.
  • Each new degree program begins with a cohort of students who benefit from new curricula and teaching methods designed to enhance their computing education.
  • Cross-campus collaboration and sharing of new curricula and teaching methods will help ensure a scalable and replicable model for public universities, which serve large student populations.
  • The aim of the initiative is to have a total of ten participating universities in 2017. Their efforts will be supported through university-industry partnerships.

“To increase the number of women who graduate with a degree in computing, we are creating new curricular pathways starting from where they are,” said Dr. Tsu-Jae King Liu, Vice Provost, Academic and Space Planning and TSMC Distinguished Professor in Microelectronics in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences at the University of California, Berkeley.

Learn more about TPI Pilot Programs
View Comments from Participating Universities (see below)

 TPI Industry Partners

University-industry partnerships are the cornerstone of the Technology Pathways Initiative. Leading high technology companies are sponsoring participating universities in their development and implementation of new interdisciplinary degree programs. The initiative calls for a total of five founding industry partners in the Technology Pathways Alliance, which currently includes Intel Corporation, KLA-Tencor Foundation and Salesforce. Each partner is contributing $1 million. Along with funding, these partners will provide a variety of mentoring, internships, workshops, onsite visits and other campus-to-career opportunities for college students in the TPI degree programs.

Learn more about University-Industry Partnerships
View Comments from Industry Sponsors (see below)


Founded in 2014, the Center for Advancing Women in Technology (CAWIT) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Silicon Valley. Through its flagship Technology Pathways Initiative, CAWIT provides a collaboration platform for university, industry and government leaders to create new pathways for the advancement of women in technology, from campus to career. Learn more at

Comments from members of the Technology Pathways Alliance

Participating Universities

San Francisco State University

We are excited to have highly motivated students enrolled in a new interdisciplinary degree program at SFSU. Through the Technology Pathways Initiative, we gained resources and support for faculty collaboration across our Biology and CS departments to develop new interdisciplinary curricula and education pathways. Our first cohort of women and men Biology students are now adding computing knowledge and skills to their educational experience, keenly aware of the benefits this will have in their careers.

—Pleuni Pennings, Assistant Professor/Biology, SFSU; Ilmi Yoon, Professor/CS, SFSU

San José State University

Our region’s high-tech, biotech, and other industries are looking to the California State University system for more graduates prepared to work in interdisciplinary fields such as bioinformatics and data science. In collaboration with the Technology Pathways Initiative, we are developing a new interdisciplinary Minor in Bioinformatics. This program will allow our students of life sciences, disciplines with high percentages of female students, to acquire the bioinformatics and computational skills their future employers will be looking for.

—Sami Khuri, Professor and Chair, Department of Computer Science, San José State University

University of California, Berkeley

As a participating university in the Technology Pathways Initiative, we are developing new interdisciplinary degree programs that integrate computing knowledge and skills with fields of study that have high percentages of female students. Our students are excited to have curricular options that better match their interests and prepare them well for technical careers.

—Dan Klein, Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences Vice Chair, University of California, Berkeley

Industry Partners

Intel Corporation

Through investing in transformative education programs like the Technology Pathways Initiative that offer real-world experience and technical skills, Intel is helping to pave the way for more women to enter and succeed in engineering and computer science careers. Intel has committed $1 million to this initiative that develops the next-generation of technologists who are shaping the future and direction of our industry.

—Barbara Whye, Executive Director of Strategy and External Alliances, Intel Corporation

KLA-Tencor Foundation

We commend CAWIT on the introduction of its Technology Pathways Initiative and the powerfully progressive effects it will have on women, the tech industry and higher education programs. It is incredibly important that we not let the skills gap hinder innovation or the economy through the thousands of unfilled tech jobs, which is why KLA-Tencor is very pleased to partner with CAWIT to make it a success. It is an ideal organization that exemplifies the KLA-Tencor Foundation’s objectives in creating a culture that supports and advances STEM education.

—John Van Camp, Senior Vice President of Human Resources, KLA-Tencor


Equality is a core value at Salesforce and we’re committed to equal pay, equal advancement, equal rights and equal opportunity in the workplace. With STEM education becoming essential to today’s workforce, we’re thrilled to make a $1 million commitment that funds Technology Pathways Initiative pilot programs to prepare women with the skill sets they need to be competitive in technology careers.

—Cindy Robbins, Executive Vice President, Global Employee Success, Salesforce

Recent Posts

Start typing and press Enter to search

TPI Technology Pathways Initiative