YWCA, Madison

TEF funding supports the YWCA, and the YWeb Career Academy (YWebCA). YWebCA targets young women and young people of color who are underrepresented in technology careers. The goal of YWebCA is to prepare students for – and increase the opportunities to obtain - family-sustaining jobs, while meeting a gap in the labor market for these positions. YWebCA provides instruction in website development skills and also covers job readiness, team building, and hands-on learning in computer programming through an intensive training institute.

TEF funding goes directly to support YWebCA participants – and enables important programming to take place including instruction in website development skills, and hands-on learning in computer programming through an intensive training institute. Participants are also actively involved in learning the skills needed to be “job ready”, and team building activities are included as well.

The way that YWebCA works is unique. The program includes 400 hours of intensive technical training. Students are expected to complete job-related projects and work outside of class time and to be actively engaged in the learning process. Importantly, “soft” skills are also a part of the program, and are equally important for program participants to learn to increase their chance of success in the long term.

Elizabeth Bell, a graduate from the career academy, provided her insight on her experience both within the program and in her current position. Bell’s life had been filled with many hardships and she had to take on two jobs to provide for her family. In the 8-month course in which Bell took part, the students learned web development tools, software development, and soft skills for their future careers. They learned front-end web development skills including HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and Git, UX design, and project management. In addition, the class covered job readiness, team building, and hands‐on learning in computer programming.