Sisters Code to Train 2,020 Women for Tech Careers by 2020


tThe Detroit-based nonprofit Sisters Code is kicking off its 2020 BYTE 2020 crowdfunding campaign — aimed at helping 2,020 women enter technology careers by the end of 2020 — on Wednesday by bringing attention to its 13-week coding program designed to “re-career” women as front-end Web and mobile developers.

t“(The Transformational Coding Experience) is the first of its kind where we actually pay women to learn and to re-career into a new career, where we take away all the barriers (for women),” says Marlin Page, who launched Sisters Code last August.

tPage says the program, which will pay students $15 per hour during training, plans to impact 500 women in metro Detroit before expanding its reach across the county. Each training period will provide 16 women with the skills required to create Web and mobile applications — a practical skill given today’s market, she says.

t“When you look at the stats, by the year 2020, the number of tech jobs will have increased by 22 percent and the vast majority will be in software development,” Page says. “That’s what’s hot right now. I want (this training) to translate into the ease of finding a job.”

tAccording to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are 6.1 million tech jobs in the country. In Michigan, there are 155,100 tech jobs that pay an average annual salary of $74,213. The state has 9,700 tech-based businesses.

tAt the completion of the program, Page will coordinate job interviews for the graduates with companies that span every industry from tech startups to automotive.

tBefore Sisters Code can launch the first 13-week coding program, Page says the organization must secure $350,000. To that end, the nonprofit will launch its crowdfunding and Kickstarter campaigns on Wednesday as part of the Sisters Code Transformation Celebration, to be held Wednesday at Microsoft’s regional offices at the Southfield Town Center. “Ideally, we’ll be able to start (the coding program) by May or June,” she says.

tSince launching six months ago, Sisters Code has trained 50 women with no previous coding experience in Java Script, HTML, and CSS through the nonprofit’s Weekend Website Warrior Experiences. During the kick-off for the fundraising campaign, the organization will highlight some of the women, who will share their own stories about creating an interactive website for the first time.

tPage, a graduate of Wayne State University, says one story in particular goes to the core of what her program is all about. “There was this 67-year-old woman (who) came to my class. Since leaving the class, she has started a ministerial website helping others, and she’s now a teaching assistant,” she says.

tFor more information about the Sisters Code Transformation Celebration, click here