Higher Education, Human Resources, and Technology

Partners connect to train female coders

December 22, 2017
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Grand Circus Grand Rapids boot camp graduates
Graduates of a .NET (C#) DEVELOP(her) boot camp pose for a shot together. Courtesy Grand Circus

A group of organizations in West Michigan have partnered on a recent high-tech "boot camp" for women.

The partners each played a role in an 11-woman cohort being trained on software coding through the DEVELOP(her) boot camp by Grand Circus Grand Rapids.

Grand Circus said this month the class graduated from the program, which is a regular part of its schedule.

Grand Circus, a tech training company, collaborated with five organizations to make the session "possible.": the Michigan Council of Women in Technology, Women’s Resource Center; The Source; Start Garden; and TekSystems. 

The 12-week, full-scholarship session was focused on .NET (C#) training to help the students qualify for entry-level software developer jobs.

“Women make up 47 percent of the American workforce, yet hold only 25 percent of computer-programming jobs,” said Damien Rocchi, CEO, Grand Circus. “We work to bridge this gap by preparing women from all walks of life for their new tech careers. This boot camp aligns with the Grand Circus mission of creating a tech industry that is reflective of our community, and I know that these women will go on to do big things.”

The scholarships were funded by TEKsystems, The Source and Women’s Resource Center. The program costs $7,500 per student.

“Grand Circus is setting the tone in the Grand Rapids community with their intentional efforts at attracting women of all backgrounds to their coding boot camps and technology in general,” said Jorge Gonzalez, director, Start Garden. “By making it both accessible and affordable to women in our community — including a large contingency of Latinas in this most recent cohort — programs like these ensure much-needed diversity in the tech industry.”

Partner roles

The Michigan Council of Women in Technology is providing continued mentorship for every graduate through its Ignite Mentorship Program. Applicants are paired with a mentor based on mutual interests, career goals and experience.

Women’s Resource Center and The Source provided funding and recruitment. The organizations identified women from their networks who were well-suited for this type of education and supported them throughout the recruitment process.

Start Garden created a parallel learning environment for boot camp students and provided a learning space at its campus.

TekSystems provided funding and will support the women in their career searches.

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