TORONTO, March 11, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The International Development and Relief Foundation (IDRF) today announced that it is expanding its highly successful Women in Tech training program to Alberta. This initiative, which trains young women to work as full-stack developers, will now support young people in Calgary and Edmonton, thanks to the generous support of the Rideau Hall Foundation’s Catapult Canada Access Innovation Fund.
In 2018, IDRF created Women in Tech for young women in Toronto living in poverty or at risk of doing so due to a lack of employable skills. In an effort to remove some of the socio-economic barriers associated with the high cost of a technology education, IDRF offers the program free of charge through an annual grant from the United Way of Greater Toronto as part of its Inclusive Employment Initiative.
Since the program’s inception in Toronto, 100 young women have learned introductory computer coding skills and 22 more have graduated from a web development boot camp. The program has a 100% employment rate and most participants have secured full-time technology positions as web developers within 90 days of graduation.
According to Women in Tech program director Elyas Burney, there is a huge gender gap in the tech sector, with women making up just 20% of the workforce. Additionally, he notes that there is a high percentage of young women, especially those in BIPOC and new immigrant communities, who are not represented in one of the world’s most influential industries.
“Tech skills are in high demand across Canada, but in some areas like Alberta we still have high unemployment rates, in part due to COVID-19,” says Burney. “Women in Tech equips young women with the coding skills needed to work as web developers, increases the level of participation of women in the industry, and trains future leaders.”
The Women in Tech – Alberta program will launch this spring, and the IDRF is inviting local community groups in Calgary and Edmonton to help promote the program and encourage young women to apply. Priority will be given to candidates who have difficulty accessing full-time/permanent employment, the unemployed or underemployed, and those who do not have the financial resources to access technological education.
“We are thrilled with the expansion of Women in Tech to Alberta, which would not have been possible this year without the generous support of the Rideau Hall Foundation’s Catapult Canada Access Innovation Fund,” said Zeina Osman, Director of Donations and of impact at the IDRF. “We are also grateful for the continued support we have received from United Way of Greater Toronto. The generous support of these two organizations will help us make a meaningful difference in the lives of many young women in Ontario and Alberta.
Young women interested in learning more about the Women in Tech program in Toronto, Calgary and Edmonton can do so by visiting the IDRF website.
IDRF is a registered Canadian charity dedicated to empowering disadvantaged people in Canada and around the world. Founded in 1984, IDRF has an enviable reputation as one of Canada’s best-run charities and has been recognized by third-party organizations such as the Financial Post and MoneySense for its effectiveness, efficiency and results. Find out more about IDRF’s work in their annual report and follow them on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.
For more information, photos and interviews, contact:
Zeina Osman: Director of Giving and Impact
Email: [email protected]