Sisters Code collaborates with the Ford STEAM Lab and #YesWeCode to Bring Silicon Valley to Detroit


  • Ford STEAM Lab, a Ford Motor Company Fund program, to host a hackathon for 100 middle school students to learn software coding skills, develop solutions to education reform
  • Ford is collaborating with California-based #YesWeCode and Level Playing Field Institute, and two Detroit organizations, Sisters Code and Grand Circus, a tech training company
  • Event features a high profile panel of judges including Stephen Henderson/Detroit Free Press; Van Jones/#YesWeCode; and Skype appearance by Detroit native and rapper Big Sean
  • The hackathon will be held March 27-28 at the Ford Resource and Engagement Center in Detroit. MSNBC will broadcast live from the hackathon on Friday, March 27

DETROIT, March 11, 2015 –Ford STEAM Lab, an educational program from the Ford Motor Company Fund, is bringing the power of Silicon Valley to Detroit with an innovative two-day hackathon to help middle school students improve their education while exploring high-tech careers.

The 100 students from five Detroit-area middle schools will learn the basics of software coding as they create and “hack” an application that will help them learn better. Their projects will be judged by a high profile panel of judges as they compete for bragging rights and more than $30,000 in scholarships and awards.

“Student voice and authentic inclusion is important to students succeeding in education,” said Shawn Wilson, manager, Multicultural Community Engagement, Ford Motor Company Fund.

“Ford’s goal is to not only empower students to take control of their educational future, but also discover a potential career pathway in Michigan’s growing technology sector.”

Ford STEAM Lab is collaborating with:

  •  #YesWeCode, an Oakland, Calif.-based organization that targets low-opportunity youth and provides them with the necessary resources and tools to become world-class computer programmers.
  • Level Playing Field Institute, an educational organization based in Oakland, Calif., committed to eliminating the barriers faced by underrepresented people of color in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).
  • Sisters Code, a Detroit organization dedicated to helping women succeed in STEM-related fields.
  • Grand Circus, a company based in Detroit that provides training and other skills necessary to work in technology companies.
  • National Dropout Prevention Center/Network, a national organization that works on strategies to increase the graduation rate in America’s schools.

“In the new century, technology is central to middle class jobs and income. We are proud to work with partners like Ford and the Level Playing Field Institute, to support 21st Century opportunities to students in Detroit,” said Van Jones, #YesWeCode founder.

The hackathon will be held March 27-28 at the Ford Resource and Engagement Center at 2826 Bagley St., Detroit, 48216.

MSNBC will broadcast live from the hackathon on Friday, March 27. More details on the program will be announced at a later date.

After learning coding skills on the first day, students will present their app ideas to a panel of judges on the second day. The panel will include Stephen Henderson, Pulitzer Prize-winning Editorial Page Editor of the Detroit Free Press and co-host of Detroit Today on WDET; and Van Jones, #YesWeCode founder, and environmental and civil rights advocate.

At the conclusion of the event, students will hear via Skype about two very different success stories. Detroit native and singer/songwriter Big Sean will speak to the importance of technology in music and how it changed the music industry.

Ford STEAM Lab was launched in October 2014 to spark high potential, low opportunity student passion for technology entrepreneurship and careers in traditional STEM fields, as well as automotive design and vehicle technology. STEAM Lab adds an arts component to help students learn how to use creativity and innovation in problem solving and collaboration.  

Ford Motor Company Fund invests more than $8 million a year in scholarships and other education initiatives. In addition to the Ford STEAM Lab, Ford Fund educational programs include Ford Blue Oval Scholars, Ford Next Generation Learning, Ford College Community Challenge and Ford Driving Dreams Tour. 

CEO Marlin Page of Sisters Code Discusses The Digital Divide During @techonomy Detroit 2014








DETROIT – Cass Tech high school and Wayne State University graduate and CEO of Sisters Code, Marlin Page talk’s “women in tech” during Techonomy Detroit 2014 with moderator Andrew Keen of TechCrunch.

“I travel often speaking with young girls about technology” and ”When we look at this digital divide” and “We’re missing a population of women” and “We aren’t taping into this workforce,” said Marlin Page of Sisters Code.

The panel of Brian Forde of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, Google’s Chris Genteel, Laura Mather of Unitive, Marlin Page of Sisters Code, and Indiegogo’s Danae Ringelmann discussed way’s to make entrepreneurship more inclusive and the tech industry more of a melting pot in America during Techonomy Detroit 2014.

See Woodlawn Post for the complete article

Sisters Code in Dbusiness Magazine




Seeking to boost the number of women in front-end technology — build­ing Web and mobile applications — Detroiter Marlin Page launched Sisters Code. The Detroit nonprofit aims to provide 2,020 females with employable digital skills by the end of 2020.

Already, 50 women have completed the first 13-week program, held at Microsoft Corp.’s regional offices in Southfield. After 500 women are trained in metro Detroit, Sisters Code will expand its curriculum nation­wide. Beyond that, Page says the nonprofit has the potential to operate in perpetuity.

“We provide the students with an hourly salary, which takes away a lot of the barriers of getting to class each day,” she says. “It’s a radical idea — (paying) people to attend classes — but it’s needed. Plus, we provide one-on-one mentoring, and career and life coaching.”

Each class will have 16 students, and no coding experience is needed. To help raise capital for the effort, Page launched a crowd­funding effort earlier this year, and new classes are being planned.

In-kind donors include Microsoft, Henry Ford Health System, Chalkfly, and the Michigan Council of Women in Technology.

“My goal was to weave technology with empowerment,” says Page, a tech­nology strategist for Microsoft. “I also advise parents on what their children are doing with social media. It’s not something you can leave to chance. You need to monitor everything your children are doing online. db

Sisters Code Participants Receive Free Membership to Michigan Council of Women in Technology






Sending a special thank you to the Michigan Council of Women in Technology for gifting two Sister Code participants with free memberships to their illustrious organization.  MCWT is a progressive organization that inspires and supports women as they enter, advance, and contribute to Michigan’s technology community.

Last week in partnership with Microsoft Corporation we celebrated 50 “New Geeks.”  Since Sisters Code was founded in September 2013, we have trained 50 women to code in Java Script while building interactive websites.  Some of the women have gone on to develop websites, start their own businesses, and enrolled in college courses.  During the celebration, MCWT Executive Director, Janette Phillips motivated the women to believe in themselves and to consider re-careering into technology.

Since launching our 2020 BYTE 2020 Campaign last week,  we have received hundreds of inquiries.  It is evident that women are interested in re-careering into the field of technology, however it is very important that they see people that “look like them,” who are already doing it.

Kudos to MCWT for affording Sisters Code’s participants with an opportunity to network with some of the greatest women in technology.

For more information on MCWT please visit:


Sister Code Weekend Website Warrior Graduates to Shadow Developers at Detroit Based Chalkfly

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Two Sister Code Weekend Website Warrior Graduates will have an opportunity to take their new coding skills and shadow some of the best developers in the City of Detroit.  Chalkfly is an organization that is really working tirelessly to make a positive impact in the community.

As we move towards bridging the technology gender gap, it is very important for women to “see people” who are actually working in the field, and Chalkfly has stepped up to give our participants that opportunity.   “Sisters Code is larger than a class, and we will not be a “one hit wonder.”  This is a movement to bridge the technology gender gap, therefore we cannot just teach a class and not offer support for further career growth.   Asking corporations to offer opportunities like this doesn’t cost anything, however a shadowing or mentoring experience could potentially transform the life of a woman. I would say that the “ask” is worth it,” states Sisters Code Founder, Marlin Page.

Chalkfly’s entire business culture is stemmed in giving back and uplifting the community.  When you purchase an item from their online office supply store a portion of your purchase goes DIRECTLY to a teacher of your choice.  We all know that teachers are always looking for ways to enhance our children’s learning experience, and Chalkfly’s effort helps get them closer to that goal.

Click here for more information on Chalkfly.

Sisters Code Business Spotlight – Automation Alley

Social Enterprise Sisters Code Empowers Detroit Women, Transforms Lives Through Technology

Social Enterprise Sisters Code Empowers Detroit Women, Transforms Lives Through Technology

We are living in a digital age that is increasingly defined by computer programs that require coding. Most of us have conquered how to work, play, socialize and consume information on apps, but very few of us understand the technology that makes them work. And when that discussion shifts to women, the number is even more alarming. Women make up 46.7 percent of the U.S. workforce, but they represent less than 25 percent of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) workers, according to Detroit-based Sisters Code. The founder of this new social enterprise, Marlin Page, is determined to change that statistic.Launched in August, Sisters Code is on a mission to educate, empower and entice women – of all ages and ethnic backgrounds – to explore the world of coding and technology. The Sisters Code vision is to not only get women interested in learning to code, but to ultimately help them land jobs in technology fields.

“It is undeniable that jobs in the technology industry are not going anywhere. No matter the career you choose, you will touch a piece of technology. In every area of our lives, technology is here, and I believe it is very important for people to learn how to code,” said Page, who, in addition to being the brains behind the Sisters Code movement, also travels the country as a STEM speaker and strategist.

During her speaking engagements, Page found that her message was not reaching an important segment of the population: mature women. “I actually started off my professional career as an aspiring mortician and also a middle school substitute teacher in Detroit,” she said. “I thought, what if someone never offered me that opportunity? Then I wouldn’t have this awesome career I have today.”

Page said she knows how it feels to be underrepresented in the world of technology and coding. She made the decision at 25 during her summer break from teaching to learn to code. “It was a hard reality when I started coding. There were women in my class, but by the end, there weren’t many left. The numbers were even more glaring when I entered the executive level of my career,” she said.

Click here for full story

Local Organization Sisters Code bring technology event to Metro Detroit

Sisters Code hosts event at Microsoft’s Southfield Campus

Detroit, Mich. – Sisters Code, a social enterprise dedicated to introducing and empowering women to explore the world of technology, in conjunction with Microsoft, will host the organization’s inaugural “Weekend Website Warrior” program Friday, August 23 – Saturday, August 24. The program will be held at the Microsoft Technology Center, located at: 1000 Town Center, Suite 350, in Southfield, Mich.

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