Girls Who Code Announces New Work Prep Initiative Designed to Give College-aged Women Pathways into the Tech Industry

Organization increases focus on workforce development to serve its 80,000 college-aged alumni

Pilot begins as new CEO Dr. Tarika Barrett starts on April 2nd

New York, NY (April 8, 2020) -- Girls Who Code, the international non-profit organization dedicated to closing the gender gap in technology, today announced a new Work Prep program designed to introduce college-aged women to career pathways in technology. The two-week virtual program will give participants the opportunity to learn about internship or entry-level opportunities, connect with potential mentors and sponsors in the industry, and develop their networking skills. Girls Who Code will pilot the initiative starting this month with WW International and JPMorgan Chase.

“Over the last decade, Girls Who Code has helped build the pipeline of future female technologists,” said Dr. Tarika Barrett, Girls Who Code’s new CEO. “We now have 80,000 college-aged alumni who are majoring in Computer Science and related fields at 15 times the national average. Now, we’re looking to ensure that our alumni and young women more broadly have the opportunity to break into the industry. We’re proud to partner with WW and JPMorgan Chase to pilot this new initiative designed to help young women get their foot in the door.”

Work Prep was designed with an eye to the many challenges facing underrepresented women in technology, particularly young women of color, who are often balancing working and caregiving responsibilities alongside their studies. The part-time virtual program allows for flexibility through synchronous and asynchronous activities, including pre-recorded videos and workshops as well as live panels, group work, and discussions with employees at partner companies.

“We know that the pipeline of young women is there, and now we need industry to step up and connect young women with opportunities in technology,“ said Mindy Grossman, CEO of WW International. “As a longtime Girls Who Code partner, we’re excited to support this new initiative to help close the gender gap in technology and further diversify all workplaces now and in the future.”

“We are excited to provide invaluable experiences to young women exploring their career options and seeking a place in the tech industry,” said Lori Beer, Global Chief Information Officer at JPMorgan Chase. “As a partner for the Work Prep initiative, we will provide opportunities that give a snapshot of how technology is powering financial services, what it’s like to work in an agile corporate environment and help students prepare to apply for competitive internships and jobs.”

Work Prep is the second workforce development initiative the organization has announced this year, following a virtual Hiring Summit that took place on January 28, 2021. More than a thousand young women registered for that event, which connected job seekers to companies recruiting for technical roles.

Girls Who Code is on track to close the gender gap in entry-level jobs by 2030.

“As I step into a new role as CEO of Girls Who Code, I will prioritize workforce development and mentorship programs for young women,” said Dr. Barrett. “It’s critical that we support our alumni on their journey from school into the workforce. As I pick up the baton, my focus will be to remove those obstacles that continue to stand in the way of young women reaching their full potential.”

Barrett became CEO of Girls Who Code on April 2, 2021. She has dedicated her career to addressing inequities in education and to helping young women - particularly women of color - succeed. Barrett joined Girls Who Code in 2016 and has played a critical role in its success, overseeing the free Summer Immersion Program and after-school Clubs Program, which have reached 300,000 girls around the world, more than half of whom are Black, Latinx, or come from low-income backgrounds. Additionally, Tarika has led Girl Who Code’s international expansion, the growth of its alumni and workforce development programming, and the People & Culture teams.

About Girls Who Code

Girls Who Code is an international nonprofit organization working to close the gender gap in technology, and leading the movement to inspire, educate and equip young women with the computing skills needed to pursue 21st-century opportunities. Since launching in 2012, Girls Who Code has reached 500 million people through its work and 300,000 girls through its in-person programming. College-aged alumni of Girls Who Code are declaring majors in computer science and related fields at 15 times the U.S. average. In 2019, the organization was named the #1 Most Innovative Non-Profit on Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies list. Follow the organization on social media @GirlsWhoCode.