NCWIT’s Alabama Digital Skills Initiative will get more girls and women into tech in Birmingham—3 reasons why it matters

Girls coding
From Girls Who Code via Facebook

In May 2019, we told y’all about a new $4.1m initiative to support southeastern women in tech.

The National Council for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) and the Cognizant Foundation, the backers of this initiative spoke at TechBirmingham’s Tech Tuesday. Read on to learn what we found out.

1—TechBirmingham, Innovate Birmingham and others are working together with NCWIT and the Cognizant U.S. Foundation to make good things happen for women and girls in tech through NCWIT’s Alabama Digital Skills Initiative

women talking at Tech Tuesday
Women chatting at one of Tech Birmingham’s Tech Tuesday events. Photo by Laine White

In Birmingham’s tech scene, conversations with smart, colorful people are normal.

TechBirmingham and Innovate Birmingham are both major players in the city’s tech ecosystem. So, it makes perfect sense that they’re two of the local partners on this new initiative to get girls and women into tech.

2—NCWIT’s Alabama Digital Skills Initiative starts with middle schoolers and continues through working professionals

IMG 1861 NCWIT's Alabama Digital Skills Initiative will get more girls and women into tech in Birmingham—3 reasons why it matters
Participants at Tech Tuesday. Photo by Laine White

Sometimes with a new program, it’s fun to imagine how things will be different 10, 15, 20 years from now. Just take a moment to imagine all the people whose lives and careers will be transformed by these new opportunities. It’s exciting to imagine, isn’t it?

3—Three programs aim to increase the talent pipeline for tech companies and improve the lives and careers of women and girls through NCWIT’s Alabama Digital Skills Initiative

Aspire IT coding workshops for girls

Girls at one of AspireIT's events
Girls making friends and participating in one of AspireIT’s events. Photo from NCWIT Aspirations in Computing via Facebook

Ever tried to figure out how to make programming and computational thinking fun for girls? AspireIT has worked successfully with over 9,500 girls and has figured out some things along the way.

Bottom line: look for some exciting new opportunities for girls in middle and high school. There will also be some great leadership opportunities for college-age women.

Counselors for Computing

NCWIT can help counselors remove the barriers so students choose to learn computing, consider pursuing technical career paths, and believe their voices can be heard in the tech industry.

NCWIT website

Alabama-based school counselors who want to learn more about how they can get involved with #Counselors4Computing can contact Christina Smith at TechBirmingham. She will make sure you get through the right channels.

NCWIT Aspirations in Computing

NCWIT Aspirations in Computing
NCWIT’s Aspirations in Computing offers awards that make a huge difference in the lives of the winners. Photo from NCWIT Aspirations in Computing

Aspirations in Computing changes the way participants see themselves. They provide awards to women in high school and college. These awards open up new opportunities for these young women.

By early 2020, NCWIT plans to announce technical training opportunities to the Aspirations in Computing community.

Current courses include:

  • Software Engineering
  • Data Analytics
  • Data Science
  • UX / UI
  • Project Management

There will be more in the future, designed to align with employers’ needs.

Fill out a form here to express interest in these trainings.

If you live in Alabama and want to get involved in any of these programs, contact TechBirmingham. You can also get involved with TechBirmingham, who will be the primary local contact for the initiatives through this grant.

Keep watching this space for updates as NCWIT’s Alabama Digital Skills Initiative unfolds.

Sharron Swain
Sharron Swain

Writer, Interviewer + Adventurer | Telling stories to make a difference

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