Since our founding in 1999, iD Tech has been a purpose-driven company, committed to addressing the gender and diversity gaps in STEM.
So, how do we go about it? And why does it matter?
Well, when we first started providing tuition assistance, the process was simple: Families would apply online and share their children’s stories and passion for STEM, and we would award scholarships to selected recipients.
Early on, we offered about 200 scholarships per summer, providing underrepresented students with access to the highest quality tech education.
Excited about our first steps, we quickly asked ourselves ”How can we do more? How can we reach even more of our future innovators?”
The evolution of our Tuition Assistance Program
After years of research, planning, and coordination, our Tuition Assistance Program has expanded significantly, leading to the creation of additional social impact initiatives.
Headed by Kimberly, our hard-working, passionate Sr. Corporate Counsel, we’ve now joined forces with partner organizations to reach more underrepresented children and provide more scholarships than ever before.
Thanks to Kimberly’s outreach, our social impact initiatives have come to life! She started by reaching out to different companies and nonprofits, and organized “outreach weeks” where organizations would have the opportunity to sponsor kids to go to camp.
These partnerships were the first of their kind in iD Tech history, and did they ever make a difference—from our new partnerships with nonprofits, over 700 children received scholarships in 2018 alone!
When asked what inspired her to take on this program, Kimberly smiled and answered, “It’s all about those personal connections. When students send in thank you letters or when we read the stories on their scholarship applications, it’s just incredible to feel that we are making a difference in their lives.”
After the success of 2018, Kimberly knew she’d need help to go even bigger in 2019.
So, we welcomed Ylka as our Director of Social Impact, to lead the charge on building our outside partnerships.
Ylka explained, “I am the first person at iD Tech who has been primarily external-facing. It’s really inspiring to get to connect with organizations like Nokia, PayPal, Adobe, the Annenberg Foundation, and The New Girl Code that are working to diversify the talent in STEM fields.”
She went on to add, “The statistics are troubling. 52% of the workforce is comprised of women but only 12% are in engineering. The numbers are even more dire among different ethnic groups.
We all acknowledge there's a problem, but our initiatives provide a clear path for underrepresented students in tech where there wasn’t one before.”
Since joining our team in February, Ylka already has inspiring stories to tell.
One of her favorite memories is the week 40 girls from underserved communities attended our courses at top Silicon Valley campuses, via scholarships from Nokia. After their week at camp, they spent another week at Nokia's Sunnyvale headquarters where they were mentored by the company's women in software. How cool is that?
“To see the girls blossom throughout the week at Nokia was something we will always remember. It just all comes full circle. Social impact is baked into our culture and what we stand for as the world’s most trusted STEM educator," Ylka continues.
"I feel that at iD Tech, we are all committed to making a difference in the world. Not just coming in to turn a profit—it’s knowing that we are making a profound impact. It’s a common thread that binds us all together.”
The chance to make a personal impact
In addition to partner scholarships, our social impact efforts also include our Employee Scholarship Program. Every season, our year-round employees get the chance to send a child to camp via scholarship. Recipients could be family members, neighbors, or even brand new acquaintances.
Under the program, many employees sponsor a student to send to camp, sometimes for multiple years.
This program shows that our passion and commitment to social impact lives in each iD Tech employee. Really, every single person at our company has a hand in changing the future for the next generation of innovators!
Without this passion for sharing inclusive, high-quality tech education, iD Tech would not be what it is today.
It’s safe to say that 2020 will bring a whole new world of opportunity to make a difference in students’ lives!