Google & The Brooklyn Public Library Partner In MotherCoders NYC

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Bye Amazon and hello Google! The online search engine is working with the Brooklyn community to make women a staple in the technology industry.

Earlier today Google was joined by partners MotherCoders and Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen, founder of women.nyc, to host a coding workshop for over two dozen New York City moms as part of an ongoing nine-week course taking place at The Brooklyn Public Library’s Macon branch, 361 Lewis Avenue in Beford Stuyvesant and the library’s Bushwick branches.

The program is being put on by the three organizations, in partnership with BPL, to help local moms prepare for careers in the tech sector by providing instruction in HTML, CSS, and Javascript, among other coding skills while providing childcare services at the same time.

“They take women who have kids and give them hands on training in digital and technical skills and do it in a way, place and manner that really allows them to thrive. We know that you need digital and technical skills in order to really succeed in the 21st century economy, but that can be hard for women, particularly with little kids, or medium-sized kids, to find the time to fit it in their schedule and to find a place to do it,” said Glen.

Over 265 moms applied to New York’s first cohort, over 100 applicants were interviewed and 24 participants were ultimately selected. Google has supported MotherCoders from its start, and put forth $125,000 towards the launch of this inaugural NYC cohort.

From L to R: President & CEO, Brooklyn Public Library, Linda Johnson; New York City Deputy Mayor, Alicia Glen, Google Head of External Affairs NYC, Carley Graham-Garcia; Founder MotherCoders, Tina Lee. Photo by Kelly Mena

“I am a mom in tech, my children are three and five, and your job is only as good as your childcare. So the strategy here was to support moms while also supporting their kids, and giving moms a chance to grow their professional skills with the piece of mind that their child is being taken care of at the same time” said Carley Graham-Garcia, Head of External Affairs, Google New York.

The first group of mothers is currently meeting at the Macon BPL branch and is broken up into two groups with flexible scheduling that allows both current working mothers and non-working mothers to increase their tech skills.

“We as a library try to open up avenues for everyone, and we try and make sure that they are being served with the kind of programs that are of interest and of significance to their lives and of course coding is one of the most important fields, women or men, that a person can go into these days,” said Linda Johnson, President & CEO of the Brooklyn Public Library.

Founded in San Francisco in 2014 by Tina Lee, a mother of two at the time looking to move up in her career, MotherCoders has proven particularly useful for women trying to re-enter the job market, transition into a career in tech or create their own companies.

“There’s are a lot of moms who stepped out and are finding it hard to step back in because they don’t have the skills in tech unless they were technical before and even if they were techinical before, because they have that work experience gap on their resume, employers will think,” she isn’t committed to her work or she’s not that smart,” said Lee

According to Lee, women face what is known as the “Motherhood Penalty,” 13% salary cut and 7% wage decrease per child after.

Mothers from the MotherCoders NYC inaugural class. Photo by Kelly Mena

The current inaugural class includes mothers from differing backgrounds, including Ntianu Eastmond-Visani, 44, who jumped at the chance to join the program knowing her son was right next door.

“What initially attracted me to MotherCoders was the opportunity to slowly transition into my professional self after being at home with my son for the past 15 months. Childcare was the make or break moment for me with this program versus other programs, because it was not only opportunity to have childcare but the idea that my son is participating with me. The idea that we are both moving forward together,” said Eastmond-Visani.

Another student, Svetlana Shammasova, 36, was most interested in the chance to be surrounded by like-minded women, who have now given her courage about her future in tech.  

“The other boot camps are full time, you jump right in and maybe you just completely ignore your life, but with an eight-month old you can’t do that and I can’t afford to do that. With MotherCoders I now have an option to learn and to learn with other mothers like me. These are smart, highly intelligent women and it’s not just about coding. We share stories and are a community. Now I have hope to re-enter the workforce,” said Svetlana.

Once finished with the course, the 24 mothers will take a field trip to a tech company to get first-hand view of a tech job.

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