Paid Scholarships Help 3 Miami-Dade Women Overcome Financial, Gender Barriers to Break into Tech World
Three women from Miami-Dade County are defying financial and gender barriers by breaking into the South Florida IT industry through an uplifting and lifechanging program called “Women in Tech.” The “Women in Tech” program offers scholarships and special funding through its partnerships with New Horizons South Florida, CareerSource South Florida and the YWCA of Greater Miami.
Plantation, FL — August 25, 2021 – For many women, the prospect of breaking into the IT world to secure a stable, well-paid position feels unattainable given socioeconomic barriers and the general lack of gender equality and diversity in the IT workforce.
Three local women from Miami-Dade County who are currently enrolled in New Horizons South Florida’s “Women in Tech” program are changing that narrative, led by a strong female role model: New Horizons South Florida Executive Director, Charlene Pou.
Evangeline Sanchez (Opa-locka), Nicole Herring (Miami Gardens) and Katricia Johnson (Miami) are closing the gender and minority gaps in the Miami-Dade tech industry by defying financial, pandemic and societal challenges.
“The need to democratize the IT sector by helping women and minorities chart successful careers in IT in Miami-Dade County is one of the driving forces behind our ‘Women in Tech’ program,” said Charlene Pou, program director.
“Our holistic strategy provides women with the highest standard of both soft and IT skills. We are looking for local South Florida companies with a genuine commitment to workforce diversity to partner with us through internship and other experiential opportunities to help these women kickstart their IT careers. We recognize that some women may contend with financial, childcare and other challenges, with the support of the YWCA we are able to offer a variety of services to support these women while in the program,” Pou added
According to a recent report (pages 95 + 132), only 26 percent of South Florida’s tech sector is comprised of women.
Currently in its second year, the “Women in Tech” program provides certification-based training to women helping them chart a course for a career in IT. “Women in Tech” is dedicated to increasing the number of women entering the IT sector by providing scholarships, certification training and job placement assistance. Special funding and scholarships are provided through generous partnerships with CareerSource South Florida and the YWCA of Greater Miami.
This year’s “Women in Tech” class of 12 students — double from 2020 — already has some rising stars.
About Nicole Herring, Miami Gardens:
Nicole Herring, 36, has a BA in psychology and criminal justice and a masters’ degree in human resources, but the pandemic made it difficult to put these degrees into use. She turned to “Women in Tech” to embark on a new beginning in the IT world.
“I was super nervous being new to this field, and it was the route less traveled by women and black women,” Herring said. “But I have a 14-year-old daughter who excels in math and science and she was part of my inspiration, to try something new.”
“The main skill New Horizons has taught me is adaptability. This skill will help me grow tremendously in IT as the field is forever changing and you have to be able to adjust and change with it,” Herring noted. “I knew this opportunity would enhance my chance at a better life.”
Her main takeaway from the program? Invest in yourself.
“Take a leap of faith and bet on you,” Herring said.
About Evangeline Sanchez, Opa-locka:
Evangeline Sanchez has a bachelor’s degree in hospitality and management, with previous work experience in hotels and non-profit event management. But after working part-time for a hotel during the pandemic, the 34-year-old sought change. Her curiosity led her to “Women in Tech.”
“I feel that the IT world naturally gravitates toward men, but I think that women bring a different perspective,” Sanchez said.
“The ‘Women in Tech’ program is empowering through personal advancement and networking,” Sanchez added. “Being in this program made me realize that furthering my education and gaining professional certifications is achievable at any point in life. I’m closer now to reaching my future career goals in the tech industry.”
About Katricia Johnson, Miami:
One of the brightest stars of this year’s class is Katricia Johnson, 32, who entered this summer’s “Women in Tech” program as a prior communications technician for Comcast, and a former customer service representative. Johnson, who holds a GED, received one of the highest scores on her first CompTIA A+ pre-certification exam in her class and is now taking the CompTIA A+ Core 2 exam.
The program’s financial aid made it all possible.
“While I’m in ‘Women in Tech,’ unemployment does not cover my rent, so the financial assistance I’ve been receiving is a huge help,” Johnson said. “But more importantly, I feel honored to be in this course. This program has helped me tremendously with bettering myself and my life. I have not only gained tools needed for the tech industry, but I have also gained tools to excel in the corporate world. I am proud of myself for making it through each challenge to reach my goal.”
About the “Women in Tech” Course Work:
The “Women in Tech” program consists of an intensive 16-week certification training program conducted Monday-Friday in virtual and classroom settings in Miami-Dade. Future plans include expanding into Broward and Palm Beach counties.
The program covers industry recognized certifications from CompTIA and Microsoft. CompTIA A+ requires two exams to obtain the certification and all three students passed their first exam.
In the coming weeks they will take the second exam, CompTIA A+ Core 2, and once they pass, they will obtain their first Certification CompTIA A+. For graduates who gain certification, New Horizons, CareerSource and the YWCA will work with several local companies to help secure paid internships and job placement.
For more information about “Women in Tech,” contact New Horizons by filling out this contact form.