Equity in Opportunity, in the Ability to Thrive
When students are eager to speak and free to be heard, they find the confidence to go where their interests take them. Supported by Minnesota State IT Center of Excellence and many highly engaged business partners, the Aspirations program provides resources that support technical and non-technical (professional) skill development at the K-12 grade level. The program intentionally curates partnerships and experiences that support the inclusion of women and underrepresented groups in information technology education and career opportunities.
WHO WE ARE
Minnesota Aspirations in Computing (MNAiC) is a highly successful partnership involving small through large businesses working hand-in-hand with the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System to ensure the IT talent pool in Minnesota is as diverse as the population it serves. MNAiC is one of 80 Aspirations in Computing Chapters of the National Center for Women and Information Technology (NCWIT). With women only making up 26% of the U.S. computing occupations in 2018; including 3% African-American women, 6% Asian women, and 2% Hispanic women, it is our mission to address this glaring inequity which brings obvious value to Minnesota businesses who are highly challenged to satisfy their IT employment demands. We stand with NCWIT to ‘revolutionize the face of technology’.
WHAT WE DO
Programs like MNAiC inspires, engages, and empowers the next generation of IT professionals by offering secondary educators no-cost resources featuring easy to use IT Exploration curricula, teacher training, hands-on learning opportunities for students, and career readiness resources to help them nurture their students’ passion for the industry. Students gain access to experiential learning opportunities and learn skills that pave the way for academic, career, and personal success. We also partner with local businesses and organizations to help them grow their local pipeline of tech talent by offering year-round technology learning experiences to young women in grades 6-12.
HOW WE DO IT
Through the Minnesota State IT Center of Excellence (IT Center), our primary program funding source, we offer high-quality experiential learning and recognition opportunities that are enjoyable, challenging, industry-aligned, and impactful. We refer students and families to programs offered by the IT Center partners via the IT Discovery Network. Our curated SPARCS Experience, helps young women identify which role in tech they may enjoy and directly influences their high school learning, and fields of study in college.
WHY IT MATTERS
In computing and technology careers, opportunities generated by those with a commitment to inclusion and equity offer individuals the power to alter their education and career trajectory, and ultimately their personal destiny. And we know the value that means for the community and society.
Unquestionably, the will for positive change exists. MNAiC collaboration is living proof. The diagram below illustrates the education and career path MNAiC and partners espouse.
From the classroom to the boardroom, MNAiC utilizes proven tools, evidence-based methodologies, collaborative experiences, and genuine passion to help youth generate possibility, discover potential, and influence their life direction. Working Together Works.