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Empowering Women of Color for Tech Careers

A new Urban League-led training program equips women with skills, connections, and Google certification.

by Sarah M. Mullins

JPMorgan Chase and Google have joined with regional leaders to launch the new Black Women in Tech program to bridge the skills gap for women of color seeking careers in tech fields. Participants are receiving Google Coursera certifications and focusing on six different study areas: IT support, data analytics, cybersecurity, digital marketing and e-commerce, project management, and UX design.

The first class launched in November with a cohort experience in which women progress through the program together; the cohort consisted of 65 women who graduated March 15. The curriculum itself is self-paced and doesn’t require previous tech experience or college.

JPMorgan Chase provided $500,000 in funding to launch Black Women in Tech, and Google provided 500 Career Certificate scholarships. The Urban League of Greater Southwestern Ohio is leading the training program in collaboration with the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber, the Brighton Center, Community Action Agency (CAA), and other community organizations. “The program’s objective is to create equity in the tech space,” says Ebony Young, senior vice president of impact at the Urban League. “What we’re looking to do with this program is to upskill women so they can gain direct entry to an entry-level role or, if they’re currently working in tech and looking to upskill, to provide more meaningful employment and increase their salaries.” Young says participants are eligible to receive a $500 stipend upon successful completion of the certification, based on income, and financial coaching is also provided. Graduates have access to a career fair to explore employment opportunities.

Ebony Young

JPMorgan Chase’s partnership goes beyond funding, as participants are able to engage in “fireside chats” on a variety of financial topics. “JPMorgan Chase has demonstrated its commitment to the community, not just workforce development but financial empowerment,” says Young. “They’re actually out in the community with us serving these women, which we think is remarkable.”

A combination of the Urban League, Brighton Center, CAA, and the Gaskins Foundation offer additional services to support participants throughout their three-month cohort experience—including incentives as they progress through the program, childcare assistance, financial education workshops, access to a computer lending library, mentoring support, and case management to ensure program completion. There are also opportunities to meet in-person and network among their cohort. “We recognize that some of our women may have barriers to successfully completing a multi-week program,” says Young. “We want to make sure we’re providing the necessary support to our participants and creating the engagement and experience that will really benefit these women.”

Applications for the second cohort of Black Women in Tech are available now, with class starting in August.