Why Does Verizon Want to “Inspire her Mind”? | DCR Workforce Blog

Why Does Verizon Want to “Inspire her Mind”?

Inspire her MindAre you one of the 2.6 million Americans who have you seen the Verizon commercial, “Inspire Her Mind” since it was release three weeks ago? It has generated a great deal of attention. Even CNN did a commentary on the advertisement. Unfortunately, we believe that CNN missed the point.

The commercial follows the life of a young girl, showing the many ways in which physical attractiveness is encouraged and knowledge is discouraged. After viewing the commercial, the CNN team asks, “How will this sell more services for Verizon? What are they up to?” They came to the conclusion that Verizon was joining a number of cosmetic companies and others in encouraging women to have stronger self-images.

At DCR Workforce, we think the meaning is clear. Verizon is a high tech company whose success is dependent on attracting and retaining top notch technical personnel. We believe the Company is taking steps to address the shortage of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) graduates in American universities.

The “STEM Skills Shortage” is a global phenomenon. While there are those who claim that the shortage is a myth, governments in the U.S., UK and others in the European Union, Australia, and many Asian nations are taking action to increase their technical workforce.

While we applaud Verizon for increasing national attention to this issue, we must also acknowledge others in the business community who are taking proactive steps. For example, ‘Change the Equation’ is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, CEO-led initiative that is mobilizing the business community to improve the quality of STEM learning in the United States. There are many others also deserving of recognition. Each of these companies recognize that this is a long-term problem that requires a long-term solution. The problem cannot be solved by merely increasing the quota of H-1B visas.

It also cannot be solved simply by encouraging women to enter STEM careers. There has been a decline in STEM degrees across all demographics. Two years ago, the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee (OECD) issued a report citing the following statistics:

  • The share of bachelor’s degrees awarded in STEM fields peaked at 24 percent in 1985; by 2009, the share had fallen to 18 percent.
  • The share of master’s degrees in STEM fields dropped from 18 percent to 14 percent over the same period.
  • Doctorate STEM degrees going to domestic students dropped from 74% in 1985 to 54% in 2006. Many of the foreign students receiving these degrees returned to their home countries.

Why are we concerned about these declines? STEM personnel are required to drive innovation, which in turn drives growth for companies and economies. In addition, STEM careers offer the highest incomes.

We encourage Verizon and others to continue to drive the national conversation on this important issue, addressing the need to encourage all students – males and females, across all ethnic and racial groups – to pursue a technical education. Companies must also share strategies for eliminating the STEM shortage.

Share your thoughts and experiences. We want to know what your company is doing.

The content on this blog is for informational purposes only and cannot be construed as specific legal advice or as a substitute for competent legal advice. They reflect the opinions of DCR Workforce and may not reflect the opinions of any individual attorney. Do contact an attorney for advice specific to your issue or problem.
An industry veteran, Debra draws on more than 25 years of experience in corporate operations, strategic planning, marketing, sales and management. Her prolific work experience includes service at top computer technology, management consulting, and workforce management companies.