break through tech chicago

We recognize that there is a gender gap in tech.

We are committed to opening doors for women to technology careers.

We are prepared to contribute by broadening the path into the field.

It’s time to increase women’s presence in tech.

You might assume that women’s presence in computer science since the 1980s has increased, but the opposite is true. That concerns us. It should concern you, too. Research shows that in corporations, nonprofits, and government agencies alike, the teams that perform best in the workplace are diverse. Teams made up of people who have different perspectives on the world. Different ways of thinking. Different conceptions of identity. And who represent a diversity of backgrounds: in terms of race, ethnicity, class, culture, language, and gender.

Break Through Tech works at the intersection of academia and industry to propel more women into higher education and careers in tech. Through curriculum innovation, career access and community building, our goal is to achieve gender equality in tech.

1 million

or more women complete bachelor’s degrees in the United States each year.

58%

of all U.S. undergraduate degrees are awarded to women, outpacing men.

But only 1%

of U.S. college women are graduating with a degree in computer science.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that on our current trajectory by 2026 this nation will have 3.5 million computing jobs, but U.S. colleges and universities will produce only 17 percent of the workforce we are expected to need for these roles. It’s critical to diversify the tech ecosystem now to meet this demand and drive innovation.

We are addressing this challenge through an initiative called Break Through Tech Chicago. We are part of a national network begun at Cornell Tech that is funded by Pivotal Ventures, Cognizant U.S. Foundation, and Verizon. We are bringing this women-first approach to Chicago in a corporate-supported, multi-year initiative that seeks to raise the percentage of female computer science majors and graduates at the University of Illinois at Chicago.