General Motors (GM) announced an investment in the future of women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), which will be accomplished through a donation of $225,000 to Black Girls Code (BGC) in its Detroit Chapter.
The announcement was the main event in a series of activities in Detroit’s International Academy for Young Women. It included not only the participation of GM’s CEO, Mary Barra, but also students coding and interacting with a working BGC robot called Spiro to build toy race cars.
It’s a natural step for BGC to open a chapter in the Motor City, as Detroit outpaces the national average when it comes to IT job growth, according to the Detroit Regional Chamber. Though this trajectory is expected to continue through 2025, only three percent of black women are receiving degrees in computer science, and less than one percent of Latinas. BGC joins forces with GM to aim to reduce this gap, and drive growth in the industry with a more diverse approach.
For GM, this partnership forms part of a larger scheme toward leading the motor industry. With Mary Barra at the helm, GM has committed $10 million in donations to impulse science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education. Further, GM’s employees have volunteered more than 48,000 hours to nonprofits related to STEM this year.
“It’s one of the reasons that it’s our mission to help build the next generation of STEM leaders, with an emphasis on expanding opportunities to women and other underrepresented groups,” GM’s CEO Mary Barra said to TechCrunch.
Recently, Black Girls Code turned down a donation of $125,000 from Uber amid the sexism scandals that ousted founder Travis Kalanick from his CEO position. BGC later raised $150,000 from crowdfunding campaigns. BGC has hosted workshops in the Detroit area previously, but with this donation BGC’s founder Kimberly Bryant said they could “lay the foundation to fully engage the girls of color in Detroit.”