A national organization wants to create new opportunities for Pittsburgh women working in technology.
the National Center for Women and Information Technology (NCWIT)which is based in Boulder, Colorado, just announced that it will launch a Pittsburgh chapter of its regional initiatives program this month with funding from the Henry L. Hillman Foundation. Currently, the organization also has chapters of this program in Alabama and Michigan, in addition to its national programming efforts, with plans to expand to even more regions across the country in the future. The Pittsburgh program will partner with local education and industry leaders involved in promoting the involvement of women and girls in the local tech economy.
Coming to Pittsburgh, NCWIT will partner with the Pittsburgh Technology Council and other community stakeholders to fill gaps in awareness, engagement and mentorship for local technologists. In the past, regional programs have included efforts to expand the technology education pipeline or used counseling and workshops to encourage more inclusive workforce cultures.
“When we were looking to expand our regional initiatives, Pittsburgh was a logical choice given the broad community support and strong foundation of computer programs that NCWIT already provides in the region,” said NCWIT President and CTO. Terry Hogan said in a news release. “We look forward to working with the Henry L. Hillman Foundation to expand IT pathways and opportunities in Pittsburgh to have a lasting impact on Pittsburgh’s IT ecosystem.”
Bringing women into the burgeoning tech workforce here remains a big challenge. While women make up about 49% of all occupations in the Pittsburgh area, they make up only 25% of jobs in the tech industry. It is also a persistent problem beyond the region.
With the help of the Pittsburgh Tech Council and an NCWIT regional program coordinator, the organization plans to determine what exactly some of the root causes of this inequality are and tailor programs tailored to address these issues. A press release noted that the coordinator will both lead NCWIT’s Pittsburgh programs and build relationships with local stakeholders to ensure the work is relevant to local employees.
NCWIT isn’t the only group to take on this challenge in Pittsburgh recently. Organization based in the Midwest getWITit announced renewed efforts from its Pittsburgh chapter and the addition of new members earlier this year, while WITH PGH also continued some programs and employment supports in the new year. Although the collaboration between the groups has not yet taken place (it is Technically has seen, at least), each’s activity is a promising sign that support will only grow for local women in tech.
“We are excited to partner with NCWIT, integrating their role as the Pittsburgh Regional Coordinator into our Pittsburgh Technology Council and Quarantex80 staff, to facilitate the expansion of their initiatives to empower women and increase the diversity of Pittsburgh’s tech ecosystem,” said the President and CEO of the Pittsburgh Technology Council. Audrey Russo mentioned. “Together, we will work to guide, influence and prepare the next generation of Pittsburgh’s innovative workforce, with a focus on serving women and girls in the technology sector. We know this partnership will have a huge impact on our community and we are proud to have the opportunity to work alongside such a prestigious organization.
Sophie Burkholder is a 2021-2022 corps member of Report for America, an initiative of The Groundtruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. This position is supported by Heinz endowments. -30-