A $125,000 donation from Chicago-based IT services company CompTIA just landed TechGirlz its first major out-of-state expansion: the Philly nonprofit will be offering Chicago middle-school girls access to technology skills.
The nonprofit is hiring a Chicago-based outreach coordinator to roll out the Philly-born program there. The expansion is part of CompTIA’s NextUp initiative, which is aimed at raising interest in tech careers among teens. It’s being developed in partnership with the company’s nonprofit arm, Creating IT Futures.
“TechGirlz and NextUp can provide to convince them to take a step toward a tech career,” said Charles Eaton, VP of Social Innovation at CompTIA. “Our research shows that having a personal relationship with someone in technology is a leading factor in teens choosing a tech career. TechGirlz is a perfect partner for us to get our members working with middle-school girls on interactive tech projects.”
Until now, TechGirlz had only a small outpost in Raleigh, N.C., though its TechShopz in a Box program has been taught by volunteers in places as far-flung as Belgium, Ukraine and Paraguay. This new partnership will allow the nonprofit to have a sustained presence in the Illinois city.
“We are excited to partner with CompTIA and Creating IT Futures because we share their mission to build an effective, sustainable path enabling more non-traditional IT workers to enter the workforce,” said TechGirlz founder Tracey Welson-Rossman. “It is incredibly thrilling to expand upon our success with a dedicated TechShopz program here in Chicago that will make it easy for local businesses and colleges to share their IT expertise with middle school girls that want to learn.”
(Hear more from both Welson-Rossman and Eaton at this 2015 panel on the gender gap in the IT world.)