Over 20 years ago, my mother Kathryn and my sister Alexa huddled up to launch a “tech camp for kids” in Silicon Valley. They didn’t get the investment capital so many companies rely on today. They really just had one asset: internal Drive. (That’s what the i and D stand for in iD Tech, by the way.) 280 kids came that first year, and most of the campers were boys.
The next year, they launched a “Girls-Specific Week” to try and get more girls to learn Java, Web Design, and Digital Video. They were ahead of their time. Still, just a handful of girls attended that summer.
I’ve worked side-by-side with my mother, still the spiritual leader of our company, and sister (the fearless entrepreneur) to turn iD Tech into the inclusive, #1 go-to summer tech program we are today.
Today, more girls attend our summer tech camp than any other program on the planet. A few years ago, only 12% of our campers were female. Today, over 50,000 girls have graduated from our programs. Currently 24% of our total campers are female and we're making strides toward our goal of 50/50 gender parity.
This explosive growth in female campers didn’t happen on it’s own. We launched Alexa Cafe, a stylish all-girls brand named after Alexa. The concept was mapped out in the offices of Google with Susan Wojcicki (now the CEO of YouTube). We also drastically altered our curriculum in our co-ed programs, ensuring girls could enroll in courses that mattered to them.
Our workforce is also representative of that 50/50 goal. 38% of our summer staff and 57% of our program directors are women, with expertise in everything from coding for kids and game development, to AI, machine learning, data science, robotics, and UX design.
We’re proud of the strides we’ve made to get more females to study the fields of STEM, but it's important to acknowledge that only 14% of STEM undergraduates are female. We will remain dedicated to improving that stat.
Today, on Mother's Day, I want to salute and thank my mom and sister, pioneers of the original tech camp, and longtime advocates for girls in STEM. I also want to thank all the moms in our iD Tech community. We know you play a crucial role in the push for STEM education, and we’re endlessly thankful for the opportunity to empower your kids.
Happy Mother's Day!
-Pete, CEO of iD Tech (and proud brother, son, husband, and father)