TechGirlz goes global - Technical.ly Philly

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Feb. 23, 2016 12:22 pm

TechGirlz goes global

Volunteers in Paraguay, Ukraine and Canada are spreading the TechGirlz curriculum via the nonprofit's open-source TechShopz in a Box program.
A TechGirlz-inspired workshop in Paraguay.

A TechGirlz-inspired workshop in Paraguay.

(Courtesy photo)

Since 2013, TechGirlz has been empowering women in tech by getting a head start on things.

The Philly-based nonprofit has taught 3,000 middle-school-age girls how to build websites, record podcasts and embrace digital entrepreneurship.

However, over the past two months, the wealth of knowledge has gone beyond the local scene and spread to Paraguay, Ukraine and Canada — where 61 girls were given workshops from the group’s TechShopz in a Box program.

Because there aren’t a lot of organizations focused on helping young girls learn about technology, TechGirlz is a top hit in web searches, said founder Tracey Welson-Rossman. This has helped TechGirlz link up with international partners eager to replicate the Philly-born initiative.

A TechGirlz workshop in Paraguay.

A TechGirlz-inspired workshop in Paraguay. (Courtesy photo)

The TechGirlz online resource center houses around 30 topics for TechShopz in a Box programs, which allow people with different skill sets in the IT world to become facilitators. The courses have already been taught at institutions like Drexel University, Comcast and the New York Code + Design Academy.

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Welson-Rossman says the goal is to reach 10,000 girls by 2021.

“The more girls we teach, the more girls will have a positive feeling towards their ability to be part of the tech economy,” she said. “We hope to keep not only training more girls, but also help keeping them on track towards what they want for their future careers.”

One of the most popular programs offered by TechGirlz is the one about podcasting. “Some people might say podcasting doesn’t exactly make them technologists, but what we’re trying to show the girls is that there are multiple ways to incorporate technology into their future careers,” said Welson-Rossman.

A TechGirlz slogan: "The next Steve Jobs will be a girl."

A TechGirlz slogan: “The next Steve Jobs will be a girl.” (Courtesy photo)

Thanks to the $10,000 StartUp PHL grant that TechGirlz received in 2015, the materials for the group’s summer camp — which celebrates its fifth anniversary this year — were also published online and are now available for tech enthusiasts to use anywhere for free.

According to a TechGirlz survey, 86 percent of girls are more likely to change their minds about a career in technology after participating in a TechGirlz class. Welson-Rossman says this figure is key for explaining the importance of the group’s open-source ethos.

“Our program helps them understand how they can be a part of the tech world,” she said. “We’re giving them confidence to use the tools that are out there and to think about how they can learn other pieces of technology.”

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