Case Study

Developing an affordable, virtually integrated platform where students, partners, and mentors can engage with a resource-intensive platform that prepares young females of color to pursue careers in tech.

The Challenge

Young women of color face systemic challenges in the technology industry. Among the barriers to equitable advancement are a persistent lack of sustainable opportunities, lack of mentorship, and limited career opportunities post-secondary education or collegiate course completion.  

  • A study from the Kapor Center, Pivotal Ventures, and Arizona State University's Center for Gender Equity in Science and Technology found that women of color make up 80% of all new women-led small businesses in the United States. That figure plummets to 4% in the tech industry. Among all women earning computer science degrees, just 17% were African American, and 9% were Latinx.
  • The Center for American Entrepreneurship reports that in 2017, 16 percent of the nearly $83 billion invested in U.S. venture-backed startups went to companies with at least one female founder. Just 2.5 percent went to startups with all-female founders. Meanwhile, an estimated 9 percent of general partners (the people making investment decisions) at leading U.S. venture capital firms are women.
  • Roughly 30 percent of chemistry and physics teachers in public high schools did not major in these fields and haven't earned a certificate to teach those subjects, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).
  • According to data from the National Center for Women & Information Technology, women made up 47% of the workforce but only held 25% of computer science-related roles in 2016. Within that 25%, only 5% were Asian, 3% were Black, and 1% were Latinx. 

While organizations and tools exist to drive interest in STEM among young women of color, few cost-effective programs exist with a technology focus that holistically incorporates a much-needed emphasis on building skills in leadership and career development in the technology field. Most programs rely on the need for access to cloud-based services or expensive data platforms and lack scalable approaches to integrating local partners and leaders to help students and young adults establish the essential connections needed to pursue technology careers.

There are a plethora of examples of how beneficial networking and mentorship is in the tech industry but far too often, the opportunity for the development of networks and career development resources for young women of color, aren’t consistently available nor are they extended to high school students preparing to make the transition beyond high school programming.

The Goal

Create a product and tool that supports networking, career development and mentorship, connecting young women of color to a diverse network of professionals along their career journeys to serve as a virtual curriculum arm of a nonprofit with a shared mission.

The Solution

The team at GlobalForce Tech Consulting, in partnership with the GlobalForce For Girls, Inc. Board of Directors, set out to provide an engaging learning management system (LMS) while incorporating expertise from educators, students and career experts in the community to help students make real-world connections and learn about the technology industry's depth of opportunities.

Using our deep strategic user experience and technical expertise, GFTC developed Minted, a learning management system (LMS) that delivers a curated and customized curriculum developed by engineering and IT higher education professionals.

This tool blends functionality with a modular learning experience designed to connect young women of color with learning and career opportunities in the technology industry while serving as the complementary digital component for the GlobalForce For Girls, Inc. (P2P) pilot program.

Minted takes a modular-based approach to the curriculum which focuses on developing the necessary skills: networking, internship readiness, job opportunities, certification preparation. With three separate, in-depth interfaces – one for students, mentors, and one for P2P partners, longevity is its strong suit. The platform is designed for use throughout the education-young professional-career pipeline, allowing for a community and curriculum that: Empowers; Educates, Trains; and ensures students Excel as they prepare for the tech job market.

Modules draw from real-life scenarios and curriculum designed specifically for STEM students and include:

  • How to identify and develop SMART goals 
  • Problem-solving skill exercises for school and the workplace 
  • Building customer success strategies 
  • Program development and coding application exercises 

With access to community partner support and critical resources, Minted bridges the gap between student learning and community engagement, helping combat the specific disparities Black and Latinx young women face when entering the tech industry.

Minted will launch in spring 2021 with a beta rollout before summer. Students will have immediate access to the platform and its resources as a core component and unique aspect of the pilot program. 

GFTC Services Provided for Minted:  

  • Product and platform development 
  • User experience and interface strategy and design 
  • Curriculum development 
  • Programming, Product management, and support