By: Yvonne Thomas, Global Director of YouthSpark
Providing all young people with the opportunity to learn computer science is something we feel strongly about at Microsoft. Through our YouthSpark initiative, we work with partners and programs around the world who focus on helping young people learn how to become creators of technology – especially for populations underrepresented in computer science.
As part of our continued emphasis on this important work, today at the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting we were proud to stand with former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and alongside others in our industry to share our commitment to support a joint initiative led by the Anita Borg Institute (ABI) and Harvey Mudd College, “Building Recruiting and Inclusion for Diversity” (BRAID) which will work with college and university computer science departments to increase the percentage of their undergraduate majors that are female and students of color.
Recent studies project that there are 122,000 job openings annually in computing fields in the United States requiring at least a bachelor’s degree, yet less than 50,000 qualified degrees are currently being produced by the U.S. higher education system. Today, women and minorities represent less than 34% of graduates with bachelor degrees in computer science.
These statistics illustrate the key reasons why Microsoft develops initiatives like DigiGirlz and works with partners like Girls Who Code and The National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT). We want to be sure that every young person who wants to pursue a career in computer science has not only the access, but the appropriate supports to succeed. We’re thrilled to support the BRAID initiative that will work to address this gap specifically for women and students of color, helping create a strong pipeline of future innovators. Learn more about the initiative here.