In an effort to expand the national tech talent pipeline, Walmart has announced a $3 million investment to support national nonprofit Girls Who Code. The money will be used to help the organization administer summer immersion programs in Northwest Arkansas and across the country.
Walmart said the financial support is an effort to close the gender gap in tech across the United States. There are about 6,000 Girls Who Code clubs around the country and the investment will also bring the group’s summer workshop programming to Northwest Arkansas for the first time.
The programs seek to provide computer science programming for girls in rural areas, where fewer girls have access to computer science education and the support necessary to make sure they persist in the field.
“Closing the gender gap in tech will take reaching girls in all corners of the country — and we’re thrilled that with Walmart’s support we can bring our programs to the girls of Northwest Arkansas, and throughout the rural U.S.,” said Reshma Saujani, founder and CEO of Girls Who Code. “Walmart changed the face of retail, and now through this partnership with Girls Who Code will help change the face of tech.”
In addition to supporting clubs and summer immersion programs, Walmart will be a founding sponsor of College Loops. Girls Who Code created College Loops to engage the growing network of college-aged alumni and help them persist in computer science. To date, Girls Who Code has over 13,000 college-aged alumni at dozens of universities across the country.
“Creating an opportunity in our communities and making a difference in the lives of our customers is part of our DNA. We’re proud to support the expansion of the national tech talent pipeline to increase the opportunities in technology for women and girls and help close the gender gap in tech across the country,” said Becky Schmitt, SVP of People at Sam’s Club, a division of Walmart. “Our support of Girls Who Code is part of Walmart’s overall commitment to empowering women — whether that’s in our own operations, in our supply chain through our support of women-owned businesses, or in our communities.”
Walmart said women account for less than 20% of all graduates with computer science degrees in the U.S. today. Females also make up less than 25% of the computing workforce. The industry believes with more support parity could be reached by 2027 and that is Walmart’s goal with its donation.