Latinas in Tech: Miami Non-Profit CodeLLa Kicks Off Summer Program in the Cloud with New Partnership
The technology industry has a diversity problem. And for Latinas in technology, the problem is doubled: Demographic reports from major Silicon Valley companies show Hispanic employment averages in the single digits, while women make up far less than half of the workforce.
Many organizations are seeking to help change that trend from the bottom up, including CodeLLa, a Miami-based nonprofit focused on creating a safe, girls-only environment for young Latinas to get a jumpstart towards a future STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) career.
The nonprofit was created by Josie Goytisolo and Helen Aguirre Ferre, who decided to focus especially on giving opportunities to Latina girls from families living near or below the poverty level -- providing after school and summer programs that teach coding, technology, and science, along with opportunities for the girls to meet and be mentored by successful role models in tech.
On Thursday, CodeLLa -- now in its second year -- kicked off its summer program and announced a new partnership with CareCloud, a healthcare-focused cloud software company based nearby in Miami.
CodeLLa's summer program, for girls 8-13 years old, began with a day of hands-on learning at CareCloud's headquarters along with sessions with the companies top female leaders -- engineers, product managers and executives -- as well as those from other Miami-based companies.
"Many of these girls are seeking role models and it's a great thing to be able to present them with strong examples of professional women at an early age," said the emcee of the launch day event and Outreach Manager at CareCloud, Nicole Trueba-Rossato.
After the Q&A session, the current summer group of about 25 girls got an opportunity to see how a product is built and launched -- from design, engineering, UI, to marketing. Afterwards, they got hands-on building their own games and apps.
CodeLLa's programs extend beyond the occasional field trip, so as part of the partnership, CloudCare will provide laptop computers and other classroom equipment such as a "gigantic room-spanning whiteboard for the girls' computational discovery and design work," according to CareCloud. The laptop donations, along with a grand prize for the best coder, will be presented by CareCloud at the summer CodeLLa graduation in mid-August.
In addition, the two organizations are also working to create a mentorship program that will continue throughout the school year.
"There is no other organization like CodeLLa. We are excited to partner with them to continue their mission to invest in these young ladies to give them a brighter future one line of code at a time," said CareCloud CEO Ken Comee.
"I am extremely proud that CodeLLa is partnering with CareCloud, an established leader in the cloud computing health IT arena, who is generously donating computers and other resources, as well as providing accomplished women mentors to work with our young girls," said Josie Goytisolo, co-gounder and CEO of CodeLLa, who also spoke highly of CareCloud's hiring practices and female leadership within the company.
"I look forward to growing our program that brings digital equity to underprivileged Latina girls and their families with them."
Check out CodeLLa's website for more details about the Latina-founded, Latina-led Latina-empowering nonprofit.
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