MIAMI, Fla. — Girls Who Code, a national nonprofit working to inspire, educate and empower young women to pursue careers in technology and engineering, will expand to Detroit, San Jose and Miami with new funding from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.
Launched in New York City in 2012, Girls Who Code offers a new model for computer science education, pairing 300 hours of intensive instruction in robotics, web design and mobile development with mentorship from and exposure to the industry’s top female engineers and entrepreneurs.
In its first venture outside of New York, Girls Who Code’s eight-week intensive summer programs will launch for 13- to 17-year-old girls this summer in Detroit and San Jose, in the offices of GE and eBay, respectively. Miami’s program will launch in 2014.
“Technology has the power to transform communities,” said Girls Who Code Founder Reshma Saujani. “With Knight’s support, we are training a community of consumers to become a community of producers, creators and innovators. We can’t wait to meet the young women of Detroit, San Jose and Miami.”
The Knight Foundation’s $435,000 investment is part of its Tech for Engagement Initiative, which seeks to use the power of technology to bring people together to shape their future.
“Coding skills can get you hired, and they can do more,” said Paula Ellis, vice president for strategic initiatives at the Knight Foundation. “Coders are inventors, builders. Increasingly, they are architects of our communities, building the platforms that allow people to be informed and engaged. At Knight, we want to ensure that a growing, diverse group of people are able to participate in the field and shape the software that will help shape communities.”
The U.S. Department of Labor predicts that the United States will be able to produce enough qualified candidates to fill only about 450,000 of the 1.5 million computing jobs opening up in the country by 2020. And today, just 14 percent of computer science degrees are awarded to women, down from 37 percent in 1984, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce.
The foundation is also launching a New York City-based mentorship program designed to encourage high school students to pursue opportunities in technology and media. (Unsolicited Opinion From The Editor: The more the merrier! Welcome aboard! It’s a blast!) The program will kick off Feb. 23.
Girls Who Code is currently accepting business and school partners, and will begin soliciting mentors and applicants for the summer Girls Who Code programs this spring. If you’re interested, visit http://www.girlswhocode.com/.
The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. The foundation believes that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit http://knightfoundation.org.