We Can Code IT was among 25 coding bootcamps in 22 countries selected for an in-depth global study on strategies for recruiting and training women to meet the needs of a changing labor market. The research was done by the World Bank Group in Washington D.C., a nonprofit formed in 1944 with a mission to eliminate global poverty and support economic development.
Mel McGee is the founder and CEO at We Can Code IT and says she was excited to have her Ohio company recognized on an international level. More than a year ago, World Bank contacted McGee about We Can Code ITs role in promoting inclusion in the tech industry – since women and people of color represent more than 70 percent of their student body.
“The World Bank Group took notice of We Can Code IT and examined our programs and practices for this important global study about a major problem facing our world. Their study directly aligns with We Can Code IT’s mission of equity through technology. All of our students are diverse in some way, including age and experience level. Our vision is to create a ten percent increase in under-represented groups in the tech industry over the next ten years nationwide.”
– Mel McGee, CEO & Founder, We Can Code IT
The World Bank Group released their findings in a report titled Women Wavemakers: Practical Strategies for Recruiting and Retaining Women in Coding Bootcamps. The study describes coding bootcamps as “a promising approach to equipping individuals with the skills needed to thrive in digital economies” – but recognizes that women enroll at significantly lower rates than men and drop out at higher rates.
The report shares strategies for success gathered from global tech training programs addressing the unique challenges facing women. It summarizes innovative approaches to recruiting women, effective strategies for inclusive program design, and methods for linking to the labor market.
We Can Code IT was founded on many of the strategies highlighted in the World Bank report, including tackling the “confidence gap” or “imposter syndrome” with mentorship programs and student success coaches. The company is specifically cited in the World Bank report for its flexible course schedules and a hybrid program combining online and face-to-face training. The report also recognizes We Can Code IT for building collaborative student communities to improve retention, providing weekly sessions with a developer and career coach, and for connecting to the labor market via partnerships with hundreds of potential employers.
Alicia Hammond, a Gender Specialist with the World Bank Group, says the report’s objective was to “synthesize these findings into a toolkit that bootcamp providers across the world can test and refine while working to increase the share of women who participate in their programs.” Hammond anticipates the findings will be useful for policymakers working on skills training programs as well as entrepreneurship accelerators and incubators.
McGee is pleased to see We Can Code IT helping to improve inclusion in tech at the local level and now in a global initiative with the World Bank Group report. The report can be found at worldbank.org.