May 5, 2006

NCWIT (the National Center for Women & Information Technology) announced today its receipt of a one-million-dollar, four-year grant from Microsoft Corporation, awarded to encourage women's participation in information technology (IT).

"We are thrilled with Microsoft's recognition of NCWIT's essential goal: achieving and maintaining U.S. global competitiveness in information technology through the encouragement and recruitment of women," said Lucy Sanders, CEO and Co-Founder of NCWIT. "Ensuring a diverse, professional IT workforce is a priority, not an option, for the United States as our country faces a critical personnel shortage in IT and the potential erosion of the U.S. position as a leader in IT innovation."

The grant is being announced today at a "Future Potential in IT" seminar at Seattle University, for which Microsoft is a co-sponsor. Brad Feld, NCWIT Board of Directors Chair and a Managing Director at Mobius Venture Capital, will accept the Microsoft award on behalf of NCWIT.

"We're on the threshold of extraordinary advances in computing that will affect every aspect of our lives and culture," said Rick Rashid, senior vice president of Microsoft Research. "And through Microsoft's collaboration with the National Center for Women &Information Technology we hope to inspire the imagination of students everywhere and encourage each one to pursue a career in the sciences."

This award comes the same week that a new report, released in Washington, D.C., warns of a dearth of available workers to replace retiring federal employees, especially those with technical skills. The report, by the Partnership for Public Service, calls this workforce shortage "an area of acute concern," because the number of U.S. citizens receiving technical degrees from U.S. universities is insufficient to meet the demands of the federal government's future workforce.

NCWIT, an expanding coalition of more than 70 academic, industry, government, and non-profit institutions that seek to strengthen the workforce through increasing the participation of women, is dedicated to addressing "this deeply troubling imbalance," says Sanders. The organization is sponsoring the upcoming "Innovation and the Role of Diversity" Town Hall in Washington, D.C. on May 17 at 1:00 PM at the National Academy of Sciences Building (2100 C Street, NW) (OPEN TO THE PRESS). The event will bring together high-level policy advisors, government officials from the Administration and Capitol Hill (including Senator Barack Obama), and representatives from leading hi-tech companies and universities to focus on how the U.S. can keep its innovative and competitive edge.

For more information on NCWIT and the Town Hall Forum, please visit or contact Sheara Reich at 202/368-3838.


The National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) is an expanding coalition of over 70 first-tier corporations, academic institutions, government agencies, and non-profits who believe the future of U.S. competitiveness and innovation means creating and maintaining a representative, creative, cutting-edge and technically-trained workforce (