I’ve become a bit of a Women in Tech fanatic this year, and I’m proud of IBM’s stellar track record for hiring and advancing women. (Check out our CEO!) This year, we’re taking that commitment one step further to help seed the pipeline of female talent for years to come. I’m thrilled that IBM is sponsoring four Girls Who Code summer immersion workshops this summer across the United States. Even better, we are part of the #HireMe campaign to bring Girls Who Code alumnae into IBM through internships or workshops.
Girls Who Code
Girls Who Code (GWC) is a national nonprofit organization, launched in 2012 by Reshma Saujani. Their mission is to erase the gender gap in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM), which they work toward through school-year clubs, summer immersion programs, and an active alumnae organization.
In case you have doubts about the gender gap, check out these stats:
- In 1984, 37% of computer science degree recipients were women; today, that number is down to 18%.
- While 57% of bachelor’s degrees are earned by women, just 12% of computer science degrees are awarded to women.
- Only 22% of AP computer science test takers are women, and only one in four schools teach computer science.
- In middle school, 74% of girls express interest in STEM, but when choosing a college major, just 4% of high school girls select computer science.
- The US Department of Labor projects that by 2020, there will be 4 million computer specialist job openings. Yet US universities are expected to produce only enough qualified graduates to fill 29% of these jobs.
Girls Who Code is changing that equation. From 20 girls in New York City in 2012, Girls Who Code now supports 10,000+ girls in 42 states. One hundred percent of alumnae who are pursuing computer science in college named Girls Who Code SIP as a major factor in their decision. But you’re better off hearing directly from the girls themselves:
In 2016, Girls Who Code will host 78 summer immersion programs, serving 1100+ girls in 11 cities nationwide, including new programs in Austin and Atlanta.
Because IBM has a deep commitment to supporting and increasing women’s involvement in STEM, IBM sponsored one summer immersion program in 2015 in New York City. In 2016, IBM is sponsoring four programs:
- The Los Angeles camp runs from June 13 to July 29 and the mentor event is on June 21. The camp will be held at the Boyle Heights Technology YouthSource Center.
- The San Francisco/Bay area (SVL) camp runs from June 20 to August 5 and the mentor event is on June 29. The camp will be held at IBM’s Silicon Valley lab.
- The Austin camp runs from June 27 to August 12 and the mentor event is on July 7. The camp will be held at IBM Austin.
- The New York City camp runs from July 11 to August 26 and the mentor event is on July 20. The camp will be held at Grand Central Tech.
In each of these cities, IBM will support 20 girls and their three instructors through a 7-week camp. Girls Who Code recruits and selects the students and instructors, creates the curriculum, and provides a framework for the camp.
IBM builds on that framework by offering speakers, workshops, field trips, and mentors to inspire and support the girls and introduce them to IBM. Each camp will offer workshops for Bluemix®, design, and Java™ programming, as well as field trips to an IBM Design Studio and a client innovation center. IBM Fellows and executives are volunteering their time…and so can you!
Calling all IBMers
Right now, we are finalizing speakers and mentors for the camps, and IBMers still have time to get involved. Speakers are male or female and offer a session of about one hour and can be personal/inspirational, technical, or focused on other skills that the girls need.
The mentoring program includes one in-person session and then weekly sessions through the online MentorPlace tool. We need 20 mentors in each city, and while all mentors must be female, they can come from any type of expertise and don’t have to be technical.
If you’re interested in supporting the Girls Who Code program with IBM, get in touch with program organizer Libby Ingrassia.
On a personal note, I just found out that my friend’s daughter was accepted to the San Francisco program and will be traveling to represent my home town of Lexington, KY. Go Gabbie!
Check back with the developerWorks Blog to follow the progress of our Girls Who Code over the summer. I’m sure we’ll see amazing projects created by this sisterhood!