Girls Who Code expands tech education program to three cities with Knight Foundation funding

Programs to launch in Detroit, San Jose and Miami

MIAMI -- (Jan. 24, 2013) — Girls Who Code, a national nonprofit working to inspire, educate and empower young women to pursue careers in technology and engineering, will expand to Detroit, San Jose and Miami with new funding from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

Launched in 2012, Girls Who Code offers a new model for computer science education, pairing 300 hours of intensive instruction in robotics, web design and mobile development with mentorship from and exposure to the industry’s top female engineers and entrepreneurs. In its first venture outside of New York, Girls Who Code’s eight-week intensive summer programs will launch for 13- to 17-year-old girls this summer in Detroit and San Jose, in the offices of GE and eBay, respectively. Miami’s program will launch in 2014.

“Technology has the power to transform communities,” said Girls Who Code Founder Reshma Saujani. “With Knight’s support, we are training a community of consumers to become a community of producers, creators and innovators. We can’t wait to meet the young women of Detroit, San Jose and Miami.”

Knight Foundation’s $435,000 investment is part of its Tech for Engagement Initiative, which seeks to use the power of technology to bring people together to shape their future.

“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,” said Paula Ellis, VP for Strategic Initiatives at Knight Foundation . “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.”

With 1.5 million computing jobs to fill by 2020, the U.S. is only expected to produce enough qualified candidates to fill 29% of those jobs, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Today, just 14% of computer science degrees are awarded to women, compared to 37% in 1984, the U.S. Department of Commerce has found.

In parallel, the foundation will launch a New York City-based mentorship program designed to encourage high school students to pursue opportunities in technology and media. The program will kick off at a breakfast Feb. 23.

Girls Who Code is currently accepting business and school partners, and will begin soliciting mentors and applicants for the summer Girls Who Code programs this spring.

About Girls Who Code

Launched in 2012, Girls Who Code is a national nonprofit organization working to close the gender gap in technology and engineering. With support from public and private partners, Girls Who Code programs work to educate, inspire, and equip high school girls with the skills and resources to pursue opportunities in engineering and technology fields. Following its inaugural program in New York City, Girls Who Code will launch programs in New York, San Francisco, San Jose, and Detroit in 2013. www.girlswhocode.com

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. The foundation believes that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit knightfoundation.org.

Contact:

Andrew Sherry, Vice President/Communications, (305) 908-2677, media@knightfoundation.org

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit www.knightfoundation.org.