The consortium of post-secondary institutions and companies funded by Canada’s Digital Technology Supercluster is halfway to its goal of supporting 500 women in technology
Vancouver, B.C. – Athena Pathways (athenapathways.org) is a B.C.-based consortium, supported by an investment from Canada’s Digital Technology Supercluster, with a goal of helping 500 B.C. women in the fields of artificial intelligence, machine learning, and data science. Their aim is to draw more talent into the B.C. technology ecosystem while addressing the substantial gender gap that exists within these fields. On International Women’s Day and after just 14 months of operation, Athena Pathways has now reached the milestone of having helped 250 women enter or advance within these fields. This was accomplished through their three pathways: education, employment and mentorship.
Through education, Athena Pathways has provided over 100 scholarships of $500 each to women taking select courses and workshops at partnering academic institutions: British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT), Northeastern University-Vancouver, Simon Fraser University (SFU), and University of British Columbia (UBC). The participants also received a sizable grant from Microsoft allowing them to take select Microsoft Azure courses for free.
Through the Athena Pathways job board, industry consortium members (Careteam Technologies, D-Wave Systems, KPMG, MetaOptima, SCWIST, and Teck Resources Ltd.) and additional hiring partners have been able to find a wide range of skilled women allowing them to bring in top talent while diversifying teams. The mentorship program has successfully matched over 50 mentees with highly experienced mentors in the field.
Dr. Alexandra T. Greenhill, Chair of the Athena Pathways steering committee said, “It’s so important to ensure that we don’t see happen in AI what happened with coding. The participation of women in this emerging domain needs to be supported and Athena Pathways is a great example of what diverse organisations collaborating on this mission can accomplish in a short amount of time.” “By partnering with industry players such as Teck and KPMG, we better understand the challenges these employers face in identifying skilled talent as the Canadian and global economies continue to adopt digital technologies. Through this project we continue to support the digital transformation of companies while creating pathways for women to receive top training, mentoring and job opportunities in our digital world” said Sue Paish, CEO of Canada’s Digital Technology Supercluster.”
In working with its hiring partners, Athena Pathways has learned that finding qualified digital leaders is a critical challenge for many organizations looking to adopt AI and support the development of diverse leadership teams. Stay tuned for new program announcements as we continue building momentum in the area of digital leadership.
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