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New grant trains Calgary women for tech jobs

Status of Women Minister Stephanie McLean announced $100,000 in funding for Making Changes Association to prepare immigrant and Indigenous women for careers in technology. 

Making Changes Association to prepare immigrant and Indigenous women for careers in technology.

L-R: Minister Stephanie McLean, Making Changes Association client Peace Ilondior, and Making Changes Executive Director Cathy Coutts demonstrating the tech training that will occur in the program.

Calgary’s Making Changes will launch a program that trains women for higher paying jobs in the computer networking sector. Adding in job-search skills and on-the-job work experience gives program graduates everything they need to succeed.

“Women are chronically underrepresented in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) sector. And it’s even harder for immigrant and Indigenous women to secure STEM jobs, perpetuating the gender pay gap. Programs like this remove barriers for women, lifting them out of poverty and into economic security. And that makes life better for Alberta families.”

Stephanie McLean, Minister of Status of Women

Making Changes will partner with Momentum and YYC Net Lab to deliver the program. Forty-one per cent of young women with STEM degrees were born outside Canada, yet they are less likely to get jobs in their fields. 

“Immigrant women experience additional barriers as they transition to life in Canada. We will combine life skills coaching, technical training and hands-on work experience to help immigrant and Indigenous women get good jobs in Calgary.”

Cathy Coutts, Executive Director, Making Changes

“It’s essential we empower women to participate fully in the work force because good jobs lift women out of poverty. Our partnership with Making Changes will build their capacity to train more women to build their careers and improve their lives.”

Iris Assouline, Skills Training Coordinator, Momentum

“There’s a critical need for skilled workers in the network administration sector in Calgary. But training opportunities to get in the field are expensive, and potential employees face readiness barriers. That’s why we are excited to tackle those barriers and help more women enter the tech sector.”

Mike Simoens, Founder and Board Director, YYC Net Lab

Status of Women’s first-ever grants program will fund 34 innovative projects by not-for-profit and charitable organizations for a total of $1.5 million in the 2016-17 fiscal year. Successful projects, such as this one, will work to end violence against women and girls, help women get good jobs and close the wage gap, and increase the number of women in leadership roles.

About Making Changes Association’s Digital Workplace program

The 24-week program combines employment and life skills upgrading, Cisco Network Academy training that leads to a valuable Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) certification and 4-week, on-the-job work experience. An additional 180-day post program includes one-on-one life skills training, computer access, job-search coaching and support to find job-appropriate clothing.

Listen to the news conference


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