YW Tech Lab Women in Tech Council

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YW Tech Lab

Women in Tech Council

Helping women of color advance in the technology field 

The Women in Tech Council helps open doors for women enrolled in YW Tech Lab to gain entry level web developer positions. Council members serve as role models and bridges to the corporate relationships our students need to secure internships and employment in tech. 

What is YW Tech Lab?

Participants looking at computerYW Tech Lab prepares women of color to enter the tech industry as website developers. Women make up about 25% of the tech workforce, and just a small percentage of those are women of color. With the tech industry being one of the fastest growing and highest earning sectors, and Black and Brown women facing some of the highest unemployment rates among women, increasing access to tech jobs is essential to creating a more equitable tech sector and supporting the economic advancement of women of color and their families. 

Launched in January 2021, YW Tech Lab is a 16-week intensive training program consisting of technical instruction and career development training. Participants must be a high school graduate or its equivalent, an interest in the field, and the ability to commit to a rigorous virtual learning schedule. Graduates of the YW Tech Lab will be prepared for entry level employment as a Front-End UI Developer. All graduates will have the knowledge and skill sets needed to implement web design.  

YW Tech Lab is supported by a grant from Google.org, and is delivered in partnership with Oakton Community College. It is part of YWCA Evanston/North Shore’s ongoing effort to empower women through job training (read about YWCulinary, launched in 2019) and financial education. 

Are you interested in becoming part of our Women in Tech Council?

Because web developer positions exist in all sectors, women who are passionate about increasing the representation of women of color in the tech field and helping women achieve family sustaining employment are invited to join the Council, regardless of professional background. 

Current members of YWCA Women in Tech Council and their respective companies include 

  • Shayna Atkins, AtkCo, Inc. 
  • Caroline Bird, Robert Bosch LLC 
  • Chandra Erdman, Google 
  • Cheryl Flack, Northern Trust
  • Laura Graham, MyCWT 
  • Tiera Gray, Exelon Corporation 
  • Jennifer Jones, FreeWheel, A Comcast Company 
  • Armanda Killingham, Exelon Corporation 
  • Joyce Knauff, Joyce C. Knauff Associates 
  • Taylor Roper, Google
  • Tope Sadiku, The Kraft Heinz Company 
  • Sarah Van Wart, Northwestern University 
  • Melanie Wright, NextGroup LLC 
  • Lisa VanderVoort, US Foods
Council Participant Commitments
  • Attend 2-3 council meetings each year 
  • Be available 2-3 times a year for individual consultation with the program director to give input on planning, problem solving, and general industry advice 
  • Assist in cementing at least 1 corporate partnership each year that secures volunteers, mentors, internships, or job placement opportunities for graduates. 
Council Participant Qualifications
  • Passionate about increasing the representation of women of color in the tech field
  • Passionate about helping women of color gain family-sustaining employment
  • Corporate connections in the Chicagoland area that can be leveraged to open doors for program support.  Council members do not need to reside in Chicago but must have professional connections with Chicago companies that could offer volunteers, mentors, internships, or entry level employment.

Please fill out the form below if you’re interested in joining the Council: