Women in Tech
The economic destruction brought on by the Covid-19 Pandemic has often been called the “She-session” due to the huge negative impact it has wrought on women in the workforce.
The labor participation rate for women has dropped to a 33 year low (Source: Labor Department) both due to the strains this pandemic has put on women who work, while also having its largest effect on industries that typically have higher female employment, such as hospitality and retail. And with the recovery for these sectors of the economy still expected to take months, if not years, to return to pre-pandemic levels, there is a powerful need to provide access to other career tracks for women.
More Women in Tech Jobs is Critical to Accelerating the Recovery for Women
In fact, the percentage of women in the Tech workforce remains woefully low, with only 26% of computer-related jobs being filled by women. Yet, this is one of the fastest growing and best paying career fields for women, with computer related jobs expected to grow by 19% through 2026 (Bureau of Labor Statistics).
Changing the ratio of women in tech by traditional means will take decades. According to a recent Gallup Report, only 18% of college graduates studying computer science are women, resulting in the perpetuating of this lack of gender diversity in the IT workforce for the foreseeable long-term future if a disruptive change is not identified.
Per Scholas can Change these Trends and Increase Access for Women to Jobs in Tech
Per Scholas offers a disruptive and alternative approach to change this trend and increase access for women to jobs in the technology field. First, a Per Scholas Tech Training course is only 12-15 weeks long, so in the same time as a traditional semester of college, women can attend and graduate from Per Scholas, ready to enter the tech workforce. Secondly, Per Scholas offers its courses free of charge, whether the be in end user support, cybersecurity, or software engineering. This means our learners are not burdened with debt when they graduate, or worse yet, wouldn’t be able to attend at all, if we charged tuition for our courses.
At Per Scholas, we are working towards improving our gender equity, and are currently tracking ahead of the 26% female employment rate in the tech industry by 8 percentage points.
Business Partnerships and Public Policy Change Makes A Difference
Dramatically increasing the participation in the tech workforce by women cannot happen without the support of business and government, at various levels. For several years, Per Scholas has partnered with TEKsystems to develop tuition-free tech training courses that are customized towards specific geographic areas across the country, and to meet employer demand. In addition to helping design the courses, TEKsystems is there all along the way, with workshops in professional development, resume writing, and mock interviewing (held virtually during the pandemic). And importantly TEKsystems provides access to a network of employers for our learners to access when they graduate.
Increased government support and policy changes will also remove more barriers to access for job training and career development opportunities like Per Scholas. The Child Tax Credit that was recently passed as part of the American Rescue Plan will provide well needed funds for families that can be used to pay for child care, enabling more women to attend an intensive tech training, such as that offered by Per Scholas. The current federal child tax credit is only temporary — it needs to be made permanent to have a long-term impact. In addition, more government support for highly effective job force development organizations like Per Scholas will increase the growth rate for women in tech dramatically.
The solutions to increasing the representation of women in the technology field are in our hands and ready to be scaled. We need creative partnerships like that of Per Scholas and TEKsystems, as well as bold government action, which has already been initiated. Now is the time to continue to act courageously, for this is what will ensure a strong economic recovery post-pandemic.
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Diverse by Design is proud to host The 140K: Women and the Pandemic on March 30, 2021 starting at 12 noon Eastern Time.
Register Today for Our Next Diverse by Design Virtual Event
Taking place during Women’s History Month, this Diverse by Design virtual event will explore the unique challenges the COVID-19 pandemic has presented for women and the solutions companies are employing to address them.
Hosted by Per Scholas Chief Administrative Officer Michelle Pullaro, The 140K: Women and the Pandemic will unpack the startling statistic from the December 2020 jobs report: women accounted for all 140,000 jobs lost in the final month of the year. TIME Magazine’s March 15 cover story reveals more than 2.3 million women have dropped out of the workforce in the past 12 months, with Latina and Black women most affected.
On International Women’s Day, U.S. News & World Report published a piece with the disheartening headline: “In One Year, Coronavirus Pandemic Has Wreaked Havoc on Working Women.” One troubling takeaway – the labor participation rate for women is at its lowest since 1987.
After an overview of the 2020 Women in the Workplace Study, presented by Per Scholas Columbus Managing Director Toni Cunningham, the virtual event will feature a dynamic conversation between Google’s Stephanie LeBlanc-Godfrey, Julie Dillman of Chubb, and PwC’s Kimberly Jones.
Global Head of Inclusion for Women of Color, Google
Stephanie LeBlanc-Godfrey is the Global Head of Community Inclusion Programs for Women of Color at Google. She was born in Brooklyn, NY, attended Stevens Institute of Technology, and completed her bachelors of engineering degree in Electrical Engineering before starting her career in the finance industry. She then pivoted her career to digital media, where she spent over 10 years in Advertising Operations at major media conglomerates including Forbes Media, FOX News Digital, and NBC News Digital. Currently, Stephanie’s work at Google is in service of women of color and parents/caregivers to create community where it doesn’t naturally exist and to influence the policies, programs, and processes that impact a woman’s sense of belonging and inclusion at Google.
Global Head of Operations, Chubb Group
Julie Dillman was appointed SVP for Chubb Group and Global Head of Operations in October 2016. In her position, she oversees a wide range of operational areas across the Chubb organization including information technology, service, digital and e-business operations, real estate, facilities, and flight operations. Prior to joining Chubb, Julie was with Travelers Insurance, where as a member of the Company management committee, she led global operations and the corporate wide digital and analytics delivery. Julie was honored in 2013 by the Connecticut Technology Association as a Woman of Innovation and by Insurance Business Magazine with the 2018 Elite Women award. She is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.
People Experience and Talent, Center of Expertise Leader, PwC
Kim Jones joined PwC more than 25 years ago as an audit associate. Since her transition to the Human Capital team, she has served in many roles ranging from recruiter to diversity leader to global project leader. She now leads the People Experience and Talent Center of Expertise. She is focused on enhancing the day-to-day People experience across the PwC US/Mexico firm for its 50,000 partners and employees and leads firmwide initiatives including flexibility, diversity and inclusion, and talent strategy. In addition, Kim leads the firm’s Market People Leaders in their ongoing work as credentialed coaches and in support of PwC’s overall people priorities in geographic markets. Kim graduated with both a Bachelor and Master of Accountancy degree from the University of Oklahoma.
Chief Administrative Officer, Per Scholas
Since 2015, Michelle Pullaro has served as Per Scholas’ Chief Administrative Officer, overseeing the organization’s national growth. Immediately prior, Michelle served as the Managing Partner of a nonprofit management consulting firm, Quidoo, helping nonprofits develop the management and organizational capacity to scale their impact. Prior to her role as a consultant and advisor to scaling nonprofits, Michelle was the Executive Director for Taproot Foundation. Prior to her contributions to the nonprofit sector as a visionary social impact leader, Michelle held various leadership roles with Automatic Data Processing (ADP) in Sales Management, Corporate Training, and Corporate Marketing. Michelle attended Columbia University’s Executive Program in Nonprofit Management, earned her MBA from Baruch College’s Zicklin School of Business, where she was a recipient of a NASH Honors Scholarship, and holds a BA in Economics and Political Science from University of Wisconsin, Madison.
Columbus Managing Director, Per Scholas
Toni Cunningham is an accomplished leader, motivator, workforce development professional, and reboot strategist. As Per Scholas’s Managing Director in Columbus, Toni provides vision, operational, and executive leadership. She is a highly sought after conference speaker and workshop facilitator for organizations including Dress For Success, Women for Economic and Leadership Development (WELD), National Urban League, and Women In Tech. Toni’s passion is supporting women and girls; she serves as a member of getWITit Columbus Women in Tech, partners with Women In Tech International (WITI) Columbus and Women in Analytics (WIA) Columbus and is a volunteer mentor with Dress for Success Columbus. Toni was named a “Woman WELDing the Way” by WELD in 2020 and recently appointed to the Board of Directors of New Directions Career Center.
Director, Diverse by Design
Nia Darville was appointed to the position of Per Scholas’s Director of Diverse by Design in January 2021. In her role, she is responsible for providing vision and leadership, fiscal responsibility and sustainability, alliance cultivation, strategic thinking, and event management for Diverse by Design. Prior to her promotion, Nia served in various capacities in Per Scholas’ training organization bringing innovation and efficiency to each role she held. Nia obtained her Bachelor of Science degree from Andrews University and is currently pursuing her Master of Business Administration with an emphasis in Organizational Management at Robinson College of Business at Georgia State University.
Diverse by Design is powered by Per Scholas and ITSMF (IT Senior Management Forum) and generously supported by Comcast NBC Universal, Google, JPMC, and TEKsystems.
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