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