The Community Venture Foundation has partnered with Bentonville-based RevUnit to design a curriculum for its Arkansas Girls Code program for more than 120 girls each year in coding workshops.
The partnership will enable AR Girls Code to provide a variety of coding workshops in multiple formats for girls ages 10 to 18 across Northwest Arkansas. AR Girls Code is the NWA 100 Girls of Code chapter, and an initiative of the Community Venture Foundation. The program aims to inspire more young women to pursue a future in computer science by introducing them to coding at a young age.
RevUnit is a digital product development group that also helps support the Northwest Arkansas STEM initiative (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). Brenna Blackwell, an AR Girls Code facilitator and mobile developer at RevUnit, will be involved with the curriculum development project.
“The girls who attend our workshops are interested in learning how to code, and I want to do everything I can to help them pursue their goals. I hope that my fellow facilitators and I can serve as role models to girls interested in tech, and to help them feel welcome in our field,” Blackwell said.
The curriculum will allow the AR Girls Code program to offer one-day workshops, an after school series, and intensive summer camps. The workshops offered will also allow participants to build their skills in basics of computer programming, web and mobile development and hardware design.
With the curriculum, AR Girls Code should be able to reach and engage more girls in computer science, and encourage more girls to pursue a future in STEM fields.
The gender gap in the technology field is real. Only 12% of jobs in the computer science and engineering fields nationally are held by women, and RevUnit reports lower response rates to developer job postings in Northwest Arkansas.
“RevUnit wants to help move the needle in the right direction. The AR Girls Code program is a great opportunity for us to work with the Community Venture Foundation to help create excitement and ultimately opportunity for the girls that participate,” said Michael Paladino RevUnit, chief technology officer.
Jessica Boyd, executive director of the Community Venture Foundation, said there are opportunities in the region for girls in STEM.
“Following our basic workshops, girls are always asking, ‘What’s next?’ Thanks to RevUnit’s support and generosity, we will now be able to provide high-quality workshops for girls of multiple skill levels,” she said.