General Motors of Canada Co. is setting up a $1.8-million fund that will offer scholarships and other ways of encouraging more young women and girls to study science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Among the initiatives is a postsecondary-scholarship program that will be offered to young researchers at universities across Canada. The first scholarship will be offered at the University of Waterloo, in Waterloo, Ont., to graduate students who are studying engineering.

"We see the need to support and inspire far greater female participation," in these subject areas, GM Canada president Stephen Carlisle said on Friday at the official opening of the auto maker's new Canadian Technical Centre in Markham, Ont. The company will hire about 700 engineers who will work on software development and innovation in automotive safety, entertainment and information systems in vehicles and controls for autonomous vehicles. About 500 engineers have begun work at the facility, Mr. Carlisle said. The average age of the newly hired employees is in the early 30s, he said, changing the demographics of GM's research and development centres in Canada and diversifying the company's employee base.