Cognizant Commits $5.3 Million in Philanthropic Support to Expand STEM Education and Access to Tech Careers
Cognizant has announced $5.3 million in philanthropic support for 14 organizations throughout the U.S. and Canada. This funding will help broaden access to K-12 STEM education and advance equitable career pathways, a philanthropic commitment consistent with Cognizant’s vision to leverage technology to improve everyday life. The financial contributions announced today will support the following organizations:
“Cognizant understands the power of technology to modernize, reimagine, and transform communities,” said Tobi Young, Head of Philanthropy, and SVP, Corporate and Regulatory Affairs, Cognizant. “Through our philanthropic efforts, we are expanding on-ramps to tech careers through greater access to high-quality STEM education and inclusion for those historically underrepresented in the industry. We are proud to partner with these 14 organizations to accelerate their work preparing talented young people and adults to succeed in the workforce of today and tomorrow.”
Cognizant has long-standing global commitment to promote inclusion, elevate underserved communities, and prepare people for the future of work. Since 2018 alone, Cognizant has provided support to more than 70 organizations working to provide individuals with the quality education, training, and job opportunities required to improve economic and social mobility, among its other corporate social responsibility initiatives. In 2021, the company announced a new five-year, $250 million effort including philanthropic funding and in-kind contributions to advance economic mobility, educational opportunity, and health and well-being in communities around the world.
Expanding Access to STEM Education
Today, only 53% of K-12 schools offer computer science. Code.org and NCWIT work to advance research, professional development, and advocacy efforts to increase access to and participation in computer science at schools across the U.S.
Programming from Dalhousie University, Girlstart, JA Central Ontario, University of Montana, and University of Toronto empowers the next generation of STEM professionals by connecting students with engaging and industry-informed learning opportunities. DonorsChoose provides educators across the U.S. with the resources they need to support young learners; funding from Cognizant will support K-12 computer science-related classroom projects on DonorsChoose during Computer Science Education Week, taking place Dec. 5-11, 2022.
Advancing Equitable Pathways to Careers in Technology
Ada Developers Academy, Blind Institute of Technology, Marcy Lab School, Road to Hire, and Turing School of Software and Design boost diversity and equity in the tech industry through innovative educational opportunities for learners from historically excluded and underrepresented backgrounds.
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Quotes from partner organizations:
Ada Developers Academy — Alexandra Holien, Interim CEO: “Ada is changing the face of tech, and we are thrilled that Cognizant is investing in our work. When we look at who is most left out of tech and the American economy overall, it’s women and gender-expansive folks, especially Black and brown women. Ada’s tuition-free program launches students into careers as software developers in just one year, hugely accelerating gender and racial equity in the tech industry. So far, we have graduated 700 new programmers from our Seattle and digital campuses, and now we are expanding! Ada just opened a campus in Atlanta, thanks in part to Cognizant’s support.”
Blind Institute of Technology — Mike Hess, Executive Director: “Blind Institute of Technology (BIT) assists the hardest-to-serve communities with our fully remote and fully accessible programs. BIT is serving the blind, deaf, neurodiverse, and other people with disabilities to participate in equitable opportunities to further their futures in the workplace. With Cognizant’s support, BIT can reach so many more individuals!”
Code.org — Hadi Partovi, CEO: “In today’s world, it is essential that all students have the opportunity to learn computer science. Cognizant’s support will help enable our work to make computer science a fundamental part of the K-12 education system and ultimately increase access and participation for young women and students traditionally underrepresented in the technology fields.”
Dalhousie University — Dr. Andrew Rau-Chaplin, Dean, Faculty of Computer Science: “Dalhousie University is excited to partner with Cognizant. As a civic university, Dalhousie strongly shares the belief that those who create and influence our digital world should be representative of the whole of society. This investment will enable us to build on the work we have done through our WeAreAllCS diversity initiative to improve access to technology education and opportunities for those who have historically been underrepresented in the field. Through this partnership we will also be expanding our innovation and entrepreneurship programming, better connecting our students with industry, and the growing digital ecosystem.”
DonorsChoose — Alix Guerrier, CEO: “Cognizant is fostering a love for tech and computer science among public school students, by providing their teachers with the resources they need. Through their partnership with DonorsChoose, Cognizant is empowering future STEM leaders sitting in U.S. classrooms today.”
Girlstart — Shane Woods, Executive Director: “Thanks to support from Cognizant, Girlstart can provide free year-round STEM programming for 2,000+ girls in grades 4-8. Support for K-5 science has been greatly reduced over the past few years. Girlstart provides additional learning time outside of the school day and during the summer designed to bridge learning gaps by exposing girls to hands-on STEM lessons and activities. Our participants perform better on science and mathematics tests and have an increased interest in STEM education and careers thanks to our women in STEM guest speakers. We are grateful to Cognizant for making our work and progress possible!”
JA Central Ontario — Jennifer Holmes Weier, President and CEO: “JA Central Ontario is proud to renew our partnership with Cognizant. Here at JA Central Ontario, we envision a world in which young people have the skillset and mindset to build thriving communities. This vision is strongly aligned with Cognizant’s aim of creating a world where all communities can participate in and benefit from the digital economy. We’re looking forward to continuing our work together to inspire and prepare young people across Central Ontario as they look ahead to the future.”
Marcy Lab School — Reuben Ogbonna, Executive Director: “We are thrilled to be supported by our partners at Cognizant who share our mission of building equitable pathways to high-paying tech careers for underrepresented young adults. As tech sector jobs continue to be an engine for economic mobility in New York City, we see disproportionate numbers of Black and Latinx individuals locked out of these opportunities early in their careers. With Cognizant’s generous support, we will be able to increasingly impact these numbers, graduating classes that are nearly 100% students of color and ensuring they are placed in competitive tech roles, thereby radically diversifying the tech landscape and creating generational wealth for our students and their families.”
NCWIT — Terry Hogan, President and Chief Technology Officer: “Professional school counselors play a central role in encouraging girls, women, and other underrepresented groups to pursue computing. Through their interactions with students, educators, parents, and guardians, counselors are in a unique position to enact change. But research shows, they face barriers when it comes to advising about computing education and careers. NCWIT’s Counselors for Computing program equips counselors with tools that help students see themselves in computing. Counselors are a key lever on the path to a more inclusive tech industry, and Cognizant is helping NCWIT reach more counselors in more locations.”
Road to Hire — Kacey Grantham, CEO: “Road to Hire is grateful for Cognizant’s continued commitment to supporting young adults on the path to high-growth, high-earning careers. Due to this collaboration, Road to Hire’s reach will expand this year to more than 1,600 young adults of color underrepresented in tech. This work could not be done without excellent partners such as Cognizant.”
Turing School of Software and Design — Jeff Casimir, Executive Director: “Turing’s mission is to unlock human potential by training a diverse and inclusive student body to succeed in high-fulfillment technical careers. Since our founding in 2014, Turing has helped over 1,800 people navigate the path to thriving tech careers. With support from Cognizant, we’ve been able to increase outreach efforts to recruit larger numbers of women, veterans, and BIPOC students. We’ve implemented new programs and coaching systems that have driven the graduation rate above 85%, time-to-hire under 60 days, and average starting salaries above $85,000. Our community thanks you!”
University of Montana — Seth Bodnar, President: “Sitting in the aboriginal territories of the Salish and Kalispel people, the University of Montana has long supported Native American access and success in higher education. We are grateful to Cognizant for its generosity and partnership in helping foster inclusive prosperity in Montana. Its support for the MT AIMS and Indigenous First Year Experience programs will help build pathways to higher education and meaningful careers for Montana’s Native American students.”
University of Toronto — Chris Yip, Dean, Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering: “This continuing partnership will help U of T Engineering to strengthen and grow programs that inspire and empower the next generation of engineering leaders — especially young women, Black students, and others who are underrepresented in the profession today. As engineers, we do our best work when we have diverse voices around the design table. We are proud to partner with Cognizant to lead the kind of change that will build a brighter future for us all.”
Work Shift — Elyse Ashburn, Co-founder and Editor: “The way Americans work and learn is shifting dramatically, and we have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to ensure that those changes expand economic opportunity for people who have traditionally been left behind. Cognizant recognizes that independent journalism like what we do at Work Shift will play a critical role. We can’t improve our systems of education and work without an honest accounting of what’s working, what isn’t, and what might.”
Cognizant (Nasdaq: CTSH) engineers modern businesses. We help our clients modernize technology, reimagine processes and transform experiences so they can stay ahead in our fast-changing world. Together, we’re improving everyday life. See how at www.cognizant.com or @cognizant.