Today Cornell Tech’s Break Through Tech initiative announced that has partnered with Gender Equality in Tech (GET) Cities and SecondMuse Foundation to launch a third city hub in Miami as part of Pivotal Ventures’ $50 million investment to propel more women, trans and nonbinary people – and particularly Black, Latino/a, Indigenous, and people of color – into tech education, careers, and leadership.
With many global tech giants, startups and investors having already begun to establish a presence in the South Florida city, and with the widespread embrace of remote work, Miami – an area built on its diversity – is primed for tech expansion. This new attention creates a perfect opportunity to capture the commitment to proactively building one of the most diverse and inclusive tech hubs in the country with existing, local talent, and to pouring energy and resources toward that goal. Over a year and a half into the COVID-19 era, we are seeing with a clearer lens the gross inequities across gender, race, and other underrepresented identities in society. Tech is an industry that has the scale to match the need for accessible economic empowerment that can and should be available to all of us. And GET Cities believes Miami is an ideal city to accelerate the inclusion of women and other marginalized groups in building these new, thriving, sustainable tech economies.
GET Miami will build on the model presented in its other GET Cities, GET Chicago and GET DC, to create an inclusive tech economy by focusing on three key pillars – academia, industry, and entrepreneurship. Specifically, it aims to build resilient pathways into tech and propel women at Miami’s Florida International University into tech careers through programs that encourage and incentivize more women to pursue computing degrees. It will support these women along their educational journey by providing real-world experiences and a network of supportive professionals and peers.
Break Through Tech will bring together the supply side (academia) and the demand side (industry) to build an ecosystem where more women are graduating with relevant degrees today and finding an inclusive career environment waiting for them for years to come. With over 650 students graduating with degrees in computing, and with 75 percent of all women in computing being Black, Latina, or Indigenous, the Knight Foundation School of Computing and Information Sciences is one of the largest growing computing programs in the country with one of the most diverse student populations and provides the opportunity to exponentially grow the number of diverse women in computing.
FIU is well-poised to introduce hundreds of women at FIU and surrounding community colleges to Break Through Tech’s Guild Program, expose the local tech employers to hundreds of talented female prospective hires through the Sprinternship Program, as well as innovate on Break Through Tech’s model to accelerate the pace of change to recruit and retain more women in computing. Building upon the crucial investment of the Knight Foundation and other efforts, FIU will utilize Break Through Tech’s model and join a national network of like-minded universities to provide new opportunities for their students and contribute to a growing body of knowledge about how to drive gender equality in tech at scale. Break Through Tech Miami at FIU is ambitious in their goals of diversifying the tech sector and, in the words of FIU President Mark Rosenberg, is committed to “turning the impossible into the inevitable.”
“As we continue to expand our national footprint, we are thrilled to bring Break Through Tech’s innovative programming to FIU. Together we will help make real the promise of Miami as one of the nation’s most diverse and thriving tech ecosystems. The future of innovation depends on all of us, and our partnership with FIU will help fuel a future in which women are technology creators and not just consumers,” says Judith Spitz, Founder and Executive Director at Break Through Tech.
GET Cities Miami will kick off with a launch event in early 2022, with the purpose of co-designing a local approach in partnership with the community. A key theme of the event will be to highlight opportunities for local students, talent, entrepreneurs and employers as GET Cities launches new initiatives. An example of GET Cities’ programming is the #GETChicago Tech Equity Working Group, a consortium of piloted projects across 20 entrepreneur support organizations to increase equity in start-up investment for women and other underrepresented founders. Attendees will also have the opportunity to join the conversation as GET Cities designs its fellowships, micro internships, and grants programs to be tailored to the specific needs of the Miami tech ecosystem over the next few years.
About Break Through Tech
Launched at Cornell Tech, with support from Pivotal Ventures, Cognizant Foundation, and Verizon, Break Through Tech provides curriculum innovation, career access, and community building for women in tech. The program originated in 2016 as a program called Women in Technology & Entrepreneurship New York (WiTNY), created at Cornell Tech in partnership with the City University of New York (CUNY) and a broad set of industry partners. Now Break Through Tech is replicating the highly effective ecosystem model originated in New York City to increase women’s representation in computing graduates across the United States. To date, the program is in New York City, Chicago, the DC Metro Area, and now Miami.