Isis Wenger wasn’t looking to start a social movement. But when her face appeared on an advertisement for OneLogin, where she works as an engineer, Isis quite literally became the face of gender diversity in the tech industry. And rather than shirk the publicity, Isis embraced her newfound celebrity and launched a social media campaign aimed at highlighting the pervasive inequalities of the industry.
Isis’ specific ad (one of four her company created) immediately generated heated discussion and controversy, which in turn has highlighted the sexism that continues to characterize this industry. Reactions ranged to comments on her appearance to doubts she actually worked at the company. It boils down to one unfortunate point: People have a set idea of what an engineer should look like, and Isis doesn’t fit that mold.
GA Co-founder and CEO Jake Schwartz receiving donation at CGI America.
General Assembly’s mission has always been to help people everywhere pursue the work that they love. To expand that mission, we founded Opportunity Fund, a philanthropic fellowship program that provides hands-on education, mentorship, and career opportunities to underrepresented groups across the globe. Continue reading →
At GA, we always try to bring data to the conversation. The data around unemployment, particularly for low income youth, recent college grads and veterans, isn’t the kind of data we like to see. In the United States alone, there are nearly 6.7 million young people ages 16 to 24 who are neither employed nor pursuing education; additionally, 5.3% of all veterans are currently unemployed.
At General Assembly, we know the transformative power of education to change people’s lives for the better. And in light of the devastation from the recent earthquakes in Nepal, we are coming together to crowdfund support for relief efforts in the region, helping to build out much-needed educational facilities and shelters for children in the wake of the disaster. Continue reading →
DC Innovation Opportunity Program partners at the event at GA’s campus
Today at our Washington, D.C. campus, we joined Mayor Muriel Bowser, 1776 and others to announce the DC Innovation Opportunity Program, to connect talented, low-income students with the resources, skills, and support they need to succeed in the careers of tomorrow. This exciting initiative is enabled with the support of partners such as the TDF Foundation, THEARC, Capital One, MedStar Health, and Microsoft.
General Assembly is excited to announce a partnership with Pledge 1% and encourage your involvement. As part of General Assembly’s overall commitment to building a strong entrepreneurial ecosystem, General Assembly has built a relationship with Pledge 1% to help build stronger companies and stronger communities.
More than 2.5 million American youth experience homelessness every year, and among the many obstacles they face, access to job training and assistance in finding employment rank high on the list. Here at GA, we know the power that education can have to transform lives, which is why we are happy to announce that General Assembly’s Opportunity Fund is partnering with the Start from Here campaign to help raise awareness of these issues and participate in addressing employment challenges for economically disadvantaged young people.
Students coding for change at IGNITE International Girls Hackathon in Oakland.
When I was awarded the Design For Change fellowship and officially became an Opportunity Fund fellow at General Assembly I felt a deep responsibility along with my excitement. One of the stipulations of the fellowship was to volunteer 100 hours in service to a local organization to teach youth some of the skills I learned in the User Experience Design Immersive.
I felt a responsibility to assist any young person with a similar background as me who wants to pursue a career in technology. I know how isolating it can be to feel under-represented in a field you desperately want to work in. The challenges to entering STEM careers can be discouraging to minority and/or female youth unless they have mentors who they can relate to.
Students coding for change at IGNITE International Girls Hackathon at General Assembly in NYC.
This past weekend, I attended my very first hackathon, the Ignite International Girls Hackathon at General Assembly. The event, part of IGNITE: Women Fueling Science and Technology, sets out to explore the roles of science and technology to advance gender equality in the tech field.
Unlike most first-time hackathon stories, I was not there to code myself.
Instead, I was there as a mentor for the event’s hackers—the incredible ladies of Girls Who Code. The global event called on girl hackers to help create websites or applications to identify, build, or increase access to safe spaces for women and girls—no easy feat.
By now it’s clear that the technology industry is facing diversity issues. These issues are even more intriguing when you consider that by 2020, traditional universities will only provide enough qualified graduates to fill 30 percent of tech-related jobs. This is why we believe General Assembly’s own philanthropic fellowship program, Opportunity Fund, represents a tremendous chance to create real impact and change.