Girls Who Code is set to expand its female-oriented tech education program to Detroit, Miami and San Jose thanks to $435,000 in funding from Knight Foundation, the non-profit organization announced today.
As you may have guessed from its name, Girls Who Code’s ambition is to empower young women to pursue careers in tech and engineering, contributing to closing the gender gap in this job-generating sector. Knight Foundation is supporting this goal as part of its Tech for Engagement Initiative,VP for Strategic Initiatives Paula Ellis explains:
“Coding skills can get you hired, and they can do more. 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.”
It’s worth noting that it’s not only about inspiration: Girls Who Code focuses on computer science education, with a program that includes 300 hours of intensive instruction in robotics, web design and mobile development. At the same time, participants get a chance to find role models, thanks to mentorship from female engineers and entrepreneurs.
The organization has been active in New York since 2012, but its new grant will help it launch eight-week intensive summer programs targeted at 13- to 17-year-old girls. The rollout will start in Detroit and San Jose, where the classes will respectively take place in the offices of GE and eBay, before launching in Miami in 2014.
As for New York, it will be home to a new mentorship program designed to encourage high school students to seek opportunities in technology and media. According to Girls Who Code, it is currently currently accepting business and school partners, and will begin soliciting mentors and applicants for its summer programs this spring.