Donna Milgram, the Executive Director of the National Institute for Women in Trades, Technology and Science (IWITTS), has dedicated her career to helping women succeed in fields that have been traditionally dominated by men -- from engineering and auto technology to law enforcement and computer networking.
Initially, Ms. Milgram's work focused on helping women "survive" the workplace, but she quickly saw that institutional change was critical. She shifted to helping employers and the education and job training systems develop more female-friendly recruitment and retention practices. In 1994, Ms. Milgram founded IWITTS, the only national organization whose sole mission is to provide educators and employers with the tools they need to encourage women to enter and succeed in careers where they are under-represented. IWITTS’ solutions include trainings, publications, products and technical assistance.
Since then, Ms. Milgram’s work has taken her to 44 of the 50 states. She has consulted and conducted hundreds of trainings on recruiting and retaining women in technology education and related occupations for national, state, regional and local educational institutions, organizations and employers. She has also delivered numerous conference presentations, and authored extensive print and multi-media resources.
A nationally-recognized expert on women and workforce development issues, Ms. Milgram has testified before the U.S. Congress and appeared extensively in the news media. She served as an expert witness on the "Sexual Harassment of Women in Nontraditional Occupations" and "School-To-Work Opportunities" Acts, addressing the absence of young women from many U.S. Department of Labor School-To-Work demonstration sites. Her media appearances include CNN, Fox Morning News, C-Span and The Merrow Report on National Public Radio. Higher Education Talk Radio and Your Public Media recently interviewed Ms. Milgram in the summer of 2012. She has been quoted in major newspapers such as The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal and The Chicago Tribune. She also wrote a cover article for the November 2011 issue of The Technology and Engineering Teacher magazine published by the International Technology & Engineering Education Association entitled, "How to Recruit Women & Girls to the STEM Classroom".
Ms. Milgram has served as Principal Investigator (PI) for several National Science Foundation (NSF) projects and a National Institute of Justice grant.
She is currently PI of the CalWomenTech Scale Up Project, a five-year NSF grant awarded in June 2011 and co-funded by the Research on Gender in Science and Engineering (GSE) and the Advanced Technological Education (ATE) programs. The CalWomenTech Scale Up Project’s goal is to expand the important work of the original CalWomenTech Project by disseminating that Project’s results, proven strategies and resources to ATE grantees and a wider community college audience.
Ms. Milgram was the PI of the original CalWomenTech Project, a $2 million NSF grant awarded in April 2006. Through this five-year grant, eight California community colleges received training and technical assistance to help recruit and retain women into technology programs where they are under-represented. The Project was highlighted by NSF in 2009 for demonstrating significant achievement and program effectiveness.
Ms. Milgram was also PI of the NSF-funded WomenTech Project, a three-year effort in which IWITTS worked collaboratively with three community college demonstration sites to help them increase the number of females enrolled and retained in technology programs. The WomenTech Project Best Practices CD, a step-by-step guide for recruiting and retaining women into technology programs authored by Ms. Milgram, was based on key findings from the Project.
Presentations and Publications
Ms. Milgram has spoken extensively throughout the country at educational conferences, and has frequently been published and quoted in educational publications. Recent presentations and publications include:
- California Community College Association for Occupational Education (CCCAOE) Spring Conference 2012: “Using a Leadership Team to Recruit More Female Students in STEM”
- Mid-Pacific Information & Communications Technologies (MPICT) National Winter 2011 and 2012 Educators Conferences: “Using Surveys to Improve Retention of Female Students (2011)” and “Attracting, Retaining and Increasing the Success of Students from Under-represented Groups in Your ICT Classes (2012)”
- American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) 2010 and 2011 Conferences: “CalWomenTech Project: Recruiting and Retaining Women in Technology Programs (2010)” and “Turning Limited Resources into Increased Recruitment & Retention of Female Students in Technology Programs (2011)”
- Women in Engineering Proactive Network (WEPAN) 2010 and 2011 Conferences: “The CalWomenTech Project: Using Surveys to Inform Retention Strategies of Female Technology Students (2010)” and “The CalWomenTech Project: Innovative Gender Methods of Evaluation in STEM Education Serves as Leverage for Institutional Change (2011)”
- Joint Special Populations Advisory Committee (JSPAC) CA Department of Education 2010 Conference, Sacramento, CA: "Recruitment & Retention Case Studies from the CalWomenTech Project"
- American Association of Community Colleges, 2008 Annual Conference. “CalWomenTech Live Success Stories: Hear How to Boost the Number of Women in Technology & Trades”
- Advanced Technology Education Program, National Science Foundation, 2007 Annual Conference, “Recruiting and Retaining Students to Technical Programs.”
She has also authored an extensive list of multi-media publications in her field including print publications, websites, a CD and the widely acclaimed teacher-training video, "School-To-Work: Preparing Young Women for High Skill, High-Wage Careers," which she produced while serving as PI of the School-To-Work: Women in Science, Engineering & Math (SEM) NSF Project, a joint effort with the North Carolina School-to-Work Office and the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction.
See the full list of Ms. Milgram’s presentations and publications.
Cisco Learning Institute (CLI)/Cisco Gender Initiative
Ms. Milgram led IWITTS's partnership with the Cisco Learning Institute (CLI)/Cisco Gender Initiative. As part of developing best practices for the Initiative’s website, she conducted focus groups with Academy instructors, wrote case study profiles of 11 best practice sites, created FAQs on recruiting and retaining females to Cisco Networking Academy Programs, lead two online training sessions for Academy instructors on recruiting and retaining females and developed profiles of female role models.
Ms. Milgram spent a year on Capitol Hill in the office of Congresswoman Connie Morella (MD), as a Congressional Fellow on Women and Public Policy. She developed two bills on nontraditional employment. The Women in Apprenticeship Occupations and Nontraditional Occupations Act (PL 102-350), authored by Ms. Milgram on behalf of Congresswoman Morella, was signed into law in 1992. The Commission on the Advancement of Women and Minorities in Science, Engineering and Technology Development Act (PL 105-255) was signed into law in October 1998.
Hit play to watch Donna Milgram testify before the U.S. Congress regarding sexual harassment in non-traditional jobs on June 25, 1992.
Appointments and Affiliations
Past appointments and affiliations have included Commissioner of the Alameda, CA Economic Development Commission, Board Member of the National Association of Private Industry Councils, member of the Federal Committee on Apprenticeship and Board Member of Girls, Inc. of the Island City (Alameda), where she also chaired the Board Development Committee.
She graduated cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania and received a Masters degree from the University of Maryland, where she was Valedictorian for her school.
- Shero -- Girls Inc. of the Island City, Alameda, CA 2001
- WonderWomen Award -- Bay Area Business Woman News, San Francisco, CA 2006
Ms. Milgram also has extensive experience working with law enforcement agencies and has served as a trainer for the FBI Academy.
- D Milgram. (2011) "Turning Limited Resources into Increased Recruitment & Retention of Female Students in Technology Programs." In American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) 2011 Annual Conference and Exposition Proceedings Held in Vancouver, BC 26-29 June 2011.
- D Milgram. (2010) "CalWomenTech Project: Recruiting and Retaining Women in Technology Programs." In American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) 2010 Annual Conference and Exposition Proceedings Held in Louisville, Kentucky, 20-23 June 2010.
- D Milgram. (2010) "The CalWomenTech Project: Using Surveys to Inform Retention Strategies of Female Technology Students." In Setting Sail for the Future: Proceedings of the Joint WEPAN/NAMEPA Conference Held in Baltimore, MD 12-14 April 2010.
- D Milgram. (2009) "CalWomenTech Project: Increasing Recruitment & Retention of Female College Students in Technology Courses." In Center Stage: Effective Strategies for Recruitment and Talent Development: Proceedings of the Women in Engineering ProActive Network (WEPAN) Conference Held in Austin, TX 17-19 June 2009.
- D Milgram. (2004) Online Curriculum with Modules on Recruiting Women to STEM and Gender Differences in Technology Learning Style for Channel Islands University.
- D Milgram. (2004). "Gender Differences in Learning Style Specific to Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM)." Tech Equity Project of California State University, Channel Islands. [Online].
- D Milgram. (2003) "WomenTech Project Best Practices CD," A multimedia compilation of three year NSF grant recruiting women into technology at community college level.
- D Milgram. (2000). “Making Math and Technology Courses User Friendly to Women and Minorities: An Annotated Bibliography."
- D Milgram. (1999). "GyrlTech Evaluation/Assessment Tool.”
- D Milgram. (1998). "School-To-Work: Preparing Young Women for High Skilled, High Wage Careers."
- D Milgram. (1997). "School-To-Work: Trainer's Workshop Guide."
- D Milgram. (1997). "School-To-Work: Preparing Young Women for Nontraditional Careers - An Annotated Bibliography of Practical Classroom Resources."