I’d like to introduce you to Julia. At 15, Julia loves physics; she enjoys playing handball and basketball, and spends much of her time down the street at the local library. The oldest of five children, Julia’s family struggles to make ends meet. Her father’s job as a substitute custodian is less than stable. When money got tight earlier this year, they were living without electricity in their Brooklyn home. When she’s not studying, Julia pitches in by handing out flyers for $7 an hour at a local foodbank. Her parents worry that she doesn’t have access to the education or opportunities needed for the future they’ve envisioned for her. And by most accounts, they’re right.
In recent years, the unemployment rate for young people has reached the highest on record, twice the national average of adults. For minorities, the outlook is even more grim. Today, 45% of African American youth are unemployed, and 27% of Hispanic youth are unemployed. And for those that are work, wages have dropped signicantly.
THIS This at time when the technology sector is struggling to fill MILLIONS of jobs. Computing represents FIVE of the top TEN fastest growing jobs. It also is one of the best paying — average earnings are 75% higher than the average salary nationwide.With 1.5 million computing jobs to fill by 2020, the US is only expected to produce enough qualified candidates to fill 29% of those jobs.
And while youth are struggling to meet the demands of today’s job market, it is girls that are left behind. -In a room of 25 engineers, 3 will be women-By all accounts, this number is high.
-And it’s getting worse. -The number of women CS majors has dropped from 37% in 1984s to less than 12% today.In the last 10 years alone, there has been an 80% decline in women in majoring in computer science.
Today, just 0.3% of high school girls express interest in studying computer science in college.
SO, WHAT’S THE PROBLEM HERE?
A survey of Google employees found that 98% of computer science majors report being exposed to computer science before college.TODAY-The number of schools offering computer science courses fell from 40% to 27% in recent years.-Today, only 9 states in the United States accept computer science credits toward high school graduation-The majority of states have no certification for computer science teachers-Of AP CS test takers, 17% are women. This, compared to 55% for all other subjects.JULIA HAS HAD 0 EXPOSURE + 0 EDUCATION IN HER SCHOOL.
THIS IS WHERE WE COME IN.
Girls Who Code set out to address this head on. Girls Who Code Founder ReshmaSaujani brought together top engineers, educators and recruiters at Google, Twitter, Microsoft, Carnegie Mellon, and NYU to come up with a solution. We’ve developed a new model for computer science education, pairing intensive instruction with high touch mentorship from the industry’s leading female engineers and entrepreneurs.
This summer, Julia spent 8 weeks, 8 hours a day with Girls Who Code instructors at AppNexus in NYC
She learned about entrepreneurship, what it means to build a product and a company.
She and her classmates built a mobile app to help handicap New Yorkers navigate the city’s streets and subways, a Twitter application to start book clubs with peers across the country, a website to connect ESL students with peersto learn English onlineAnd video games that hundreds of their friends are now playing.
She met 50 female engineers and entrepreneurs from Google, Twitter, Stanford….The founders of Gilt Groupe, the head of Bitly, the female CTO of Rent the Runway.She toured the halls ofGoogle, Twitter,Foursquare, Facebook, and AT&T.
We even squeezed in instruction time for the most important of entrepreneurial skills
And slowly but surely, she began to envision a new future for herself. She fell in love with computer science, and she and the other girls were soon staying til 8pm each night, getting together on weekends..
On graduation night at Google, Julia demoed her final project for an audience of engineers and entrepreneurs. She was approached with her first ever job offer.
Today, three months later, Julia has three web design jobs. When I saw her on Saturday, she lit up when she told me that she’s taught herself Rails. She is teaching her dad to code and he is now interviewing for IT jobs. She says her sisters are next on the list.
And Julia is not alone.Impressed by their presentations, the founder of ZocDoc offered Cora and Nikita internships this summer. 11 girls are in the final running for college scholarships from NCWIT.
The girls were invited to Intel to demo their products, and traveled to Microsoft to tell their stories.
Lesley was invited to the White House to tell her story. She is building a website for the laundromat on her corner before she goes off to college; she wants to be a computer science teacher.
Stories aside, the data shows us what worked.Following the program,-100% of program participants report they are definitely or more likely to major in computer science. (Again, this is compared to the national average of 0.3%)
-100% of participants elected to continue their learnings, meeting with our teachers outside of school and participating in at-home exercises, hackathons, national awards and online classes.
-100% say they would like to teach CS in their school or community and 95% say they would encourage others to try computer science.
-100% of girls indicated they would take a CS course if it was offered at their high school; sadly, few of their schools offer CS. -So they got creative. Without prompting, the girls went back to their high schools and started computer science clubs; they petitioned their principals and teachers to start offering CS, many of whom are now taking this on.
For every Julia, for every Jocelyn, Nikita, and Shimme, there are thousands, millions more. We have to reach them. It is vital for the future of our communities, our businesses—our global competitiveness. Without 50% of the population at the table building, innovating, we are all missing out.
Here’s what we’re working with. Today, we hear STEM education all the time. Countless initiatives focused on STEM. Yet, in a recent White House report, we found that LESS THAN 1% of federal STEM funding went to cs or tech programs – Let me say that again, less than 1% went to the sector where we know there are jobs, where we know innovation happens.
So, I ask you today to make a commitment to computer science education.invest in young girls and invest in your communities, your businesses, and our futures.THANK YOU from all the girls at Girls Who Code.
Girls Who Code at Social Innovation Summit
Unemployment rate for those under 25 is twice the national average
29%With 1.5 million computing job openings to fill by 2020, the U.S. is only expected to produceenough qualified candidates to fill 29% of those jobs.