While the tech industry has made significant strides in closing the gender gap, there is still much work to be done as we kick off Women’s History Month this March. Women only hold 28% of computing and mathematical jobs in the US as of 2022, and make up just 34.4% of the workforce of the largest tech companies.
This month at General Assembly, we’re shining a light on an often overlooked segment of potential women in tech: veterans and military spouses.
People with military experience bring a wealth of skills to the corporate world: leadership, teamwork, the ability to remain calm under stress, and the discipline required to solve tough problems. Unfortunately, veterans and military spouses face high rates of unemployment and women-identifying members of the military community face even greater barriers to good jobs.
According to the Joint Economic Committee, more than 13% of women who have served since 2001 are single moms, over a third are women of color, and many struggle to integrate into civilian life after duty, with some ending up homeless.
Military spouses also struggle, for different reasons—they face an unemployment rate of 22%, often because they encounter challenges to finding reliable childcare and have to frequently relocate. This can have devastating consequences for military families who are forced to survive on one income, often face food insecurity, and lack the ability to plan appropriately for the future without access to retirement benefits.
Tech as a Pathway to Career Stability
A career in technology can be life-changing for these women and their families. Tech careers are known for their flexibility, openness to remote work, generous family leave policies, and lucrative pay. Additionally, tech careers often provide meaningful problem solving work that can lead to a fulfilling life-long career and better quality of life post-service. Unfortunately, many military spouses and women veterans don’t consider this path because they don’t think they have the right background, or don’t see themselves represented in the tech industry.
At General Assembly, we are committed to embracing equity in the tech industry by providing pathways to tech careers to high-potential workers from non-traditional backgrounds, including veterans and military spouses. A career in tech can offer a “portable job” to military spouses who have to move frequently, enabling them to hold a steady job from anywhere. For veterans, the “soft skills” gained during service tend to position them well for a job in tech, too.
There are numerous stories of successful women in tech with military experience. Roxanne Bras Patraeus, for example, founded Ethena, a NYC-based startup providing modern corporate training for sexual harassment prevention, after serving in Afghanistan where she had to learn how to adapt quickly and be resilient.
“As a veteran, Roxanne experienced the most elite and effective training in the world, and she saw an opportunity to leverage this unique perspective to transform corporate training,” Ethena investor Jenifer Neundorfer of January Ventures told Forbes. “The military honed Roxanne’s world-class leadership skills, which give us full confidence in her ability to navigate the uncertainty of early stage startups, attract the highest caliber teammates, land top tier customers and build the next big company.”
Additionally, many military spouses have pursued successful careers in tech. Take Danielle, the wife of an air force member who needed a job that wasn’t tied to a specific location. She needed the peace of mind that her career wouldn’t be interrupted when her husband was deployed. Fortunately, she had the skills to land a tech job at InVision, a 100% remote company that develops a collaboration platform for designers, marketers and beyond.
“This job makes my life better,” she told FlexJobs, “because it actually provides me with the opportunity to work in a professional environment, there is room for me to grow with the company, and I am doing work that actually matters.”
As we look to empower the next generation of women leaders in tech, we are celebrating Women’s History Month by partnering with The Adecco Group (TAG) Foundation to offer 13 full scholarships to General Assembly for women-identifying veterans and military spouses.
A valued General Assembly partner, the Adecco Group Military Alliance is an expert in the employment and education space, employing more than 100,000 military spouses and veterans to date. With this scholarship, they will offer participants the chance to pursue a flexible, remote-friendly tech career by equipping them with a robust digital skillset. Recipients can pursue General Assembly courses in data analytics, product management, UX design, front-end web development, and more.
This is our third year partnering with TAG on a scholarship program, and we’re proud of the impact it’s already made for women veterans and military spouses:
- A military spouse and mother of two, including a child with special needs, wanted to secure a better job opportunity before her husband’s retirement. By attending a digital marketing course with General Assembly, she was able to gain new skills that helped her land a position paying $55,000 more than her pre-scholarship job.
- A veteran of the army reserves who was deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan became a stay-at-home mom after serving. As she prepared for her husband (also in the military) to retire and swap caregiver roles with her, she took a course with GA that helped her land a cyber intelligence government contractor job.
- Another veteran was out of work for a year after completing her service, as she struggled to identify what she wanted to do with her career outside of the military. A course at General Assembly helped her uncover her passion for data analysis and land a job she loved.
Interested in discovering if you are eligible to enroll in the sponsorship program? Learn more at our info session on March 8. Register here.