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The WIT Network will help upskill 1,000 women by offering Cloud and AI technical training scholarships

Published: July 30th, 2021 By:

The WIT Network is on a mission to help women succeed, especially those belonging to marginalized communities, by offering 1,000 scholarships within their Tech Track Training initiative, developed in partnership with Directions Training and sponsored by Microsoft.

Global — July 26, 2021 — The WIT Network today announced the Tech Track Training which strives to advance 1,000 women in cloud technology skills by removing hefty tuition fees, providing access to women-only training, and adding timing flexibility, thanks to a partnership with Directions Training and sponsorship by Microsoft. Through The WIT Network scholarship, applicants can enroll in one of two 9-week training courses—Microsoft Azure Fundamentals or Azure Artificial Intelligence—beginning in September 2021. These two foundational programs will set participants on course to becoming Microsoft certified in Azure Cloud or Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning.

Participants will also receive a free membership to The WIT Network, enabling access to networking, mentoring opportunities, and professional development resources. “The technology industry has always, and will always, be such a dynamic environment with ample opportunities to learn,” says Erika Bryan, a former scholarship recipient. “This opportunity provided me with the chance to deepen my knowledge and understanding while adding additional value to my customers. For that reason, I am extremely grateful..”

“The WIT Network is proud to foster partnerships that help us close the gender gap by creating opportunities for women who are interested in or new to the tech industry, or racial and ethnic minorities,” says Christine Bongard, President of The WIT Network. “Our goal of upskilling 1,000 women was lofty, but, thanks to Microsoft and Directions Training, we are making it happen. These scholarships will enable women to add cloud skills to their resume, making them better qualified for one of the million job vacancies in the tech sector.”

This women-only program includes those who are transgender or identify as a woman. The highly-supportive course roster runs for nine weeks (September through October) and boasts an 80% pass rate,[i] compared to the industry average of 50%. Azure Fundamentals delivers foundational training in cloud concepts, Azure services, Azure workloads, and security and privacy in Azure, as well as Azure pricing and support. The Azure Artificial Intelligence program introduces fundamental concepts related to artificial intelligence (AI) and the Microsoft Azure services that can be used to create AI solutions.

“As the founder of Directions Training, my life has been enriched through our ability to provide technology training to some of the top companies around the world,” says Jennifer Didier, the Founder and CEO of Directions Training. “We created this unique program to empower women to grow a career in technology.”

Diversity and inclusivity in the technology industry is critical, as it enables organizations to create better and safer solutions. To build solutions that best serve society, input is needed from all types of people. Even though women make up almost half of the workforce, they only comprise 27% of STEM workers.[ii] Women who are in racial and ethnic minorities are further underrepresented across the technology industry, especially in high-skill positions. Catalyst research shows that due to automation and changing industrial trends, an estimated 40–160 million women may need to transition into higher skilled roles by 2030.[iii] Upskilling is imperative for getting more women and racial and ethnic minorities into an industry that desperately needs them.

There is increased demand for emerging technology skills, especially those relating to the cloud, AI, and robotics; however, just 22% of AI professionals and 12% of machine-learning experts are women. Research shows that women have leadership strengths that are vital to the technology industry—robust collaboration and multitasking skills, the ability to listen deeply, and high emotional intelligence, to name a few.[iv] What’s more, women offer a different perspective, which has been shown to contribute to innovation and higher revenue.[v] At least 54% of all employees will require reskilling and upskilling by 2022.[vi] The WIT Network and Microsoft are committed to ensuring that women are included in this upskilling to progress their careers. “At Microsoft we are guided by a commitment to build a diverse partner ecosystem and support greater opportunities for women in technology,” says Rodney Clark, CVP, Channel Sales and Channel Chief, Microsoft. “We are thrilled to continue supporting The WIT Network and Directions Training to grow this important initiative. Together we can close the gender gap in the tech sector, while empowering companies to become better, stronger, and more profitable by attracting people of diverse backgrounds, skills, or experiences.”

To learn more or apply for The WIT Network Tech Track, visit: www.thewitnetwork.com/wit_network_tech_track_training.php

Directions Training helps organizations, government entities, and individuals embrace technology by offering custom-fit training solutions for all major technology vendors. In addition to offering technical training for major technology brands, Directions Training also provides professional development courses that help workplaces excel in communication, leadership skills, project management, and more.
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Doreen Sebben, Executive Director – The WIT Network  dsebben@thewitnetwork.com
Corinne Sharp, Co-Founder – The WIT Network    csharp@thewitnetwork.com
Christine Bongard, President – The WIT Network cbonbard@thewitnetwork.com

References:
[i] Statistic based on previous cohort success rate of the Azure Fundamentals course when run by The WIT Network
[ii] United States Census Bureau, “Women Are Nearly Half of U.S. Workforce but Only 27% of STEM Workers.” https://www.census.gov/library/stories/2021/01/women-making-gains-in-stem 
[iii] Catalyst, “Women in the workforce–global: Quick Take (2021).”
https://www.catalyst.org/research/women-in-the-workforce-global/
[iv] https://hbr.org/2019/06/research-women-score-higher-than-men-in-most-leadership-skills

[v] https://www.dreamhost.com/blog/state-of-women-in-tech/

[vi] https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/01/women-reskilling-revolution-future-of-work/


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