PROVIDENCE, RI – Citizens announced today a partnership with Girls Who Code to help 10th, 11th, and 12th grade girls learn computer science skills to make an impact in their community while learning more about careers in technology.
The bank will sponsor the organization’s Summer Immersion Program (SIP), a free two-week virtual program where participants will learn to code in a supportive environment, gaining critical leadership skills.
“At Citizens, we are committed to working together to help close the gender gap in technology,” said Barbara Cottam, EVP and Head of Corporate Affairs at Citizens. “By partnering with Girls Who Code, we will help expose a new generation of young women to opportunities across the board in computer science and digitization.”
The SIP program will serve as many as 6,000 students around the world. It is open to rising sophomore, junior, and senior girls and no prior computer science experience is required. The organization will also release a self-paced program alongside the traditional virtual model—breaking down barriers for highest-need students to participate asynchronously with support from Girls Who Code teachers and coaches. In eight years, Girls Who Code has reached more than 500 million people globally and 300,000 girls through in-person programming, and is on track to achieve gender parity in computer science by 2027.
“Our virtual program this year will incorporate all the same best practices in digital learning that we implemented last year—including shorter days, live and asynchronous instruction, project-based learning, and office hours,” said Dr. Tarika Barrett, CEO of Girls Who Code. “And, importantly, we continue to design and refine for the girls who need us most—those lacking access to WiFi, hardware, or adequate learning spaces—so that they can participate in our programs and gain access to the highest-paying, fastest-growing jobs in the global economy.”
Computing skills are the most sought-after in the US job market, with demand growing three times the national average, yet the gender gap in technology and engineering is getting worse. Despite increased demand for STEM-related jobs, the share of women in the computing workforce has declined from 37 percent in 1995 to 24 percent today.
SIP is free and need-based stipends of up to $300 are available to those who qualify, in order to provide assistance in lieu of paid opportunities such as a summer job or a paid internship. Current 9th -11th-grade girls and non-binary students are eligible to apply. For the second year in a row, Girls Who Code will run their SIP virtually, citing significant gains achieved when it first ran online in 2020 in response to COVID-19. Students across the U.S. can apply online here.