TechGirlz Announces Expansion to Chicago

Maya Miller, the John Callaway Excellence in Online Journalism Fellow, spoke with Tracey Welson-Rossman, CEO/founder of TechGirlz, to learn more about the exciting expansion of the organization to Chicago, thanks to CompTIA’s partnership with TechGirlz! The full article was originally published on the Chicago Tonight website.

Tracey Welson-Rossman has had, by all accounts, a successful career. After graduating from Drexel University in Philadelphia, Rossman bought and sold a $2.5 million company before co-founding a software development and consulting firm where she is now the chief marketing officer.

Chariot Solutions grew from 10 people in 2002 to more than 60 employees today. But six years ago, Rossman looked around her workplace and noticed a troubling trend.

“I’m the only woman on the management team, and there are only four women in the company,” Rossman said. “I wondered why women were not coming through the recruiting pipeline.”

TechGirlz Workshop

That’s when Rossman launched TechGirlz, a nonprofit organization that introduces technology like coding, gaming and mobile app design to middle school-age girls both in the classroom and through workshops. The program, based in Philadelphia and now in its sixth year, has reached more than 5,000 young women.

Earlier this month, Rossman announced the organization is expanding to Chicago.

Courtesy of a $125,000 donation from the technology nonprofit CompTIA, Chicago will have a TechGirlz community outreach coordinator starting April 3 whose primary role will be working with local schools, businesses and communities to organize workshops.

Chicago was chosen as an expansion city because of the high volume of requests from local organizations for TechGirlz curricula. CompTIA’s base in suburban Downers Grove was “the icing on the cake,” Rossman said.

“What we’re trying to do is raise awareness of how girls can participate in the innovation economy,” Rossman said.

Though data from the National Science Foundation indicates that women are increasingly studying and working in STEM fields, they remain underrepresented in science and engineering positions throughout the country.

"Even younger women... say they came to a business and they're still the only woman in the engineering department. At some point, it needs to change."

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