Written by Julie Lata, Global Community Affairs, Applied Materials
For more than 50 years, Applied Materials, Inc. has been helping solve the semiconductor industry’s toughest challenges with our expertise in materials engineering. Our ability to consistently deliver technology breakthroughs is supported by the belief that diversity and inclusion are essential to building winning teams and driving innovation. We want our industry’s workforce to be a place where everyone is inspired and supported to do their best.
Yet, girls and young women, especially girls of color and girls from low-income backgrounds, face structural and societal barriers that stand in the way of their success. If we help girls break down barriers today, our workplaces will be more vibrant, equitable and effective tomorrow. To support this effort, the Applied Materials Foundation launched Generation GirlTM – a five-year initiative focused on making sure that all girls, especially Black, Latinx and Indigenous girls, have the opportunity to reach their potential. Through this initiative, the Foundation engages with nonprofit organizations around the country to help girls gain the confidence, skills and opportunities that they will need to succeed in any path they choose. This includes ensuring girls, regardless of background, have access to leadership development and girls empowerment programs as well as high-quality science, technology, engineering and math programs.
Applied Materials employees play a critical role in the success of this work. In addition to Foundation funding (more than $1.6M was awarded by the Applied Materials Foundation to nonprofit partners during its first two years), we have created volunteering opportunities for employees, from writing letters of encouragement to girls in initiative-funded programs to hosting groups of girls onsite at multiple Applied Materials offices, in order to introduce them to women in the semiconductor industry. Applied Materials is also a member of Reboot Representation, a coalition of companies working together to double the number of Black, Latina and Native American women receiving computing degrees by 2025.
After year one, programs funded by Generation Girl™ reached more than 11,000 girls—87% of whom were low-income girls and/or girls of color. As a result of their participation in a program funded by the initiative, participants noted higher levels of confidence in themselves and their abilities to achieve their goals, as well as an increased understanding of what a career in STEM could look like. Employees are also optimistic. In the words of Marisela Rios, an Applied Materials employee in Austin, “this generation of girls makes me hopeful. I see a strong and vibrant group of young women that challenge the status quo and will not be denied an equal playing field.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Julie Lata works in the global community affairs group at Applied Materials, leading the company’s strategic grantmaking efforts in Silicon Valley, as well as Generation Girl, the Applied Materials Foundation’s national girls empowerment initiative. Prior to Applied, Julie spent time with Silicon Valley Community Foundation, advising a portfolio of Fortune 500 companies on their global corporate responsibility initiatives. She holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from California Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo.