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JUN 27, 2016 | US

BSA | The Software Alliance Sponsors Washington DC Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Program

High school girls to experience hands-on training in software development, coding, and design

Washington, DC – June 27, 2016 – For the second consecutive year, BSA | The Software Alliance is sponsoring the Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Program in Washington, DC. The program kicks off today with 120 high school girls from the Washington, DC, area, who will convene for seven weeks of intensive instruction in a variety of computing skills, ranging from web programming, to mobile app development, to robotics.

In addition to teaching coding and real-world software skills, the Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Program will provide students with experiences that go beyond the classroom setting. The girls will participate in mentorship activities, including visits to learn from the Washington offices of top-tier US technology companies, leaders in the field, senior government officials and members of Congress.

According to the National Center for Women & Information Technology, the percentage of computing occupations held by women in 1991 was 36 percent. The figure has since declined to 25 percent in 2015. Computer science jobs are among the fastest growing in the country, with the software industry alone employing over 2.5 million people in the United States. Girls Who Code recognizes that women should not be excluded from such a promising field, and this is why the program seeks to encourage girls’ interests in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) fields.

"By 2024, 4.4 million jobs will be open in computer science, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that more than a million of those jobs will go unfilled," remarked Victoria Espinel, CEO and President of BSA | The Software Alliance. "Girls Who Code addresses the pipeline problem and helps close the gender gap in computing, which is why I'm thrilled that BSA is once again sponsoring the DC program. Last year, I had the chance to speak with several of the girls in the BSA classroom, many of whom mentioned discovering a budding passion for computer science, as well as the realization that there are no limitations to what they can do. I’m certain that this summer's program will continue to inspire young women to pursue degrees, and subsequently careers, in technology."

In 2015, BSA sponsored Washington, DC’s first Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Program. When surveyed, 94 percent of the students in the BSA classroom reported that participating in the Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Program made them more likely to pursue a major in computer science. Many of the girls also noted the practical computing experience and invaluable career guidance they had learned during the summer. According to one student from the program, “Girls Who Code has taught us not only how to be good coders, but good leaders too.”

At the conclusion of the 2015 program, participants presented final projects using the computing skills they had learned throughout the summer. Among the impressive projects were PetConnect, an app that matches the user with a pet in a local animal shelter through a survey, a college readiness app that aids students in researching different schools, and a moisture-sensing plant-watering app. BSA member companies Adobe, Dell, Microsoft, and Symantec also supported BSA’s 2015 Girls Who Code class.

“Companies, policy makers, schools and parents alike share the responsibility — and the enormous opportunity — to help develop a well-trained, diverse pipeline of female computer scientists and engineers ready to tackle the complex challenges in today’s increasingly software-driven world,” added Espinel.

In addition to BSA’s classroom, AOL, AT&T, Capital One, and Lockheed Martin are sponsoring classrooms in the 2016 Washington DC Summer Immersion Program. These organizations join several prominent technology companies such as Adobe, IBM, and Microsoft, who are sponsoring Girls Who Code classrooms across the country. 

For more information, visit www.bsa.org/girlswhocode and www.girlswhocode.com.

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