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Girl Scouts will train would-be computer scientists to code

The Girl Scouts and Raytheon aim to prepare girls in middle and high school for careers in STEM with a new national program.

Girl Scouts of the USA Raytheon
The Girl Scouts of the USA is teaming with Raytheon to start a computer science program. 
PRNewsfoto/Girl Scouts of the USA

In the Girl Scouts, tech's reach has moved beyond badges for skills like video game development and space science.

The Girl Scouts of the USA is building on its STEM education with the launch of a national computer science program for middle school and high school students. It's teaming up with defense contractor Raytheon to help prepare girls for careers in cybersecurity, robotics, artificial intelligence and data science.

The issue of diversity in the tech industry, more specifically the lack of it, has come to the fore in the past few years. Statistics show minorities and women make up less than 30 percent of the workforce, with the numbers of those in technical roles even lower.

"The progress to diversify the STEM workforce needs to be accelerated," Raytheon CEO Thomas A. Kennedy said in a press release Monday. "At a time when technology is transforming the way we live and work, we can -- and should -- show young women a clear path to taking an active role in this transformation."

The new program will run as a test in select areas starting early next year, and roll out nationwide by the fall. The Girl Scouts in 2019 will also hold a pilot Cyber Challenge, where students can put their coding skills to use.