Waterbury Youth Services to Launch New IT Afterschool Program to Close the Gender Gap in Technology

Waterbury Youth Services, Inc. has been awarded a $7,357 grant from the Women’s Giving Circle at Connecticut Community Foundation to launch an after-school IT club based on the nationally acclaimed Girls Who Code program for high school students.

Information technology (IT) is a booming sector of the economy. All professions, including traditionally female professions in health and education, are being reimagined through technology. Those with IT abilities will enjoy a distinct advantage in the job market.

But girls are lagging behind. Nationally, computer programming classes attract 20% of the boys but fewer than 10% of girls. And while 20% of male college freshmen intend to major in computer science, only 4% of females do (source: National Center for Women & Information Technology).

According to WYS Executive Director Kathi M. Crowe, “Girls comprise a small minority of Waterbury high school students learning IT. We want to help correct that imbalance. By encouraging more girls – especially those living in homes below the poverty line – to take advantage of IT education and giving them easy access to it, we will increase their prospects for future economic success.”

Enrollment is now open for WYS’ Girls Who Code program, which will begin October 5, 2018. Over the course of 35 weeks, club members will learn computer software on Fridays from 3:00 - 4:30 p.m. in the Computer Lab of WYS, located at 83 Prospect Street, Waterbury. In addition to learning code, club members will participate in field trips, team projects, and hear from multiple guest speakers in IT.

Graduates will demonstrate mastery of beginner coding through their ability to complete the curriculum, and to develop, as a team, a project such as a website, app, or game. Club members will submit their project to Girls Who Code, Inc. which publishes top projects on its website.

Girls Who Code clubs are in all fifty states and have served 90,000+ girls. Girls Who Code teaches soft and hard skills including teamwork, confidence, and communication; along with the concepts of functions, variables, conditionals, and loops that form the basis of all programming languages. For more information, visit GirlsWhoCode.com

The Women’s Giving Circle at Connecticut Community Foundation is a diverse group of community-minded people who want to improve and enrich the lives of women and girls in Greater Waterbury and the Litchfield Hills. For more information, contact Heidi Green, Director of Development at Connecticut Community Foundation 203.753.1315, x113.

Waterbury Youth Services, Inc. is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit charity serving 1,000 youth and their families each year through 22 programs including: Juvenile Justice, Mentoring, Truancy Prevention, Homeless Youth Resource Center, Youth & Family Emergency Services, Afterschool Programs, and Child Abuse Interdisciplinary Team.

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