Solution Overview

What is the name of your organization?

Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology (

What is the name of your solution?

Apprenticeship Pathway Program (APP)

Provide a one-line summary of your solution.

The APP Increases the representation of historically excluded individuals, including Black, Latinx, Native, Pacific Islander, LGBTQIA+, women by providing nontraditional pathways into tech careers.

Film your elevator pitch.

What specific problem are you solving?

At, we envision a future where the people who imagine and build technology mirror the people and societies for whom they build it. We connect, inspire, and guide women in computing, and organizations that view technology innovation as a strategic imperative. Our social enterprise supports women in technical fields, as well as the organizations that employ them and the academic institutions training the next generation. A full roster of programs helps women and non-binary technologists grow, learn, and develop their highest potential.

The tech industry has long struggled with cultural issues that thwart the equitable inclusion and representation of women in the workplace. These challenges are compounded by monumental changes to the way we work currently shaping the Future of Work. Key drivers of failures in these diversity and inclusion efforts are challenges to recruit, retain, or advance women in the talent pipeline. In parallel, women in tech have struggled to attain pay equity and equal opportunities for advancement.  It is crucial that workforce solutions address complex challenges for industry and women. Our approach considers this dual struggle with a strategy for industry impact and individual resiliency. Our programs foster industry partners to adopt solutions that secure adaptive talent with future-ready skillsets and cultivate a model of co-investment in the equitable futures of women. Simultaneously, we provide resources for women technologists across the globe to connect with peers, to receive professional development training, access to mentors, and on-demand technical content to advance their careers. is well positioned to address the barriers for inclusion and advancement in tech. We create new pathways to find individual and industry solutions to increase a diverse leadership pipeline, specifically by creating a more inclusive tech space to increase the representation of women of color in tech.

While women comprise most of the professional workforce, they are not equally represented in the technical workforce. When the representation is examined further, fewer technical roles are held by women of color. Despite accounting for 57% of the professional workforce (NCWIT, 2022), women only accounted for 27.6% of the computing professional workforce in 2021 (, 2022). Of the 27.6% of women in computing professions, 52.3% are white, 29.6% are Asian, 6.3% are Black, 6.5% are Latinx, and 2.1% are multiracial (, 2022).

The computing workforce is not representative of the overall population in the United States, and it begins with access to a computing education. Only 46% of states require that high schools provide computer science courses and only three states nationwide require the subject to graduate from high school (NCWIT, 2022). In post-secondary education, women make up the majority of bachelor’s degree recipients, but only 21% of the computer science degrees (, 2022).

By introducing innovative nontraditional pathways into tech, focuses on engaging historically excluded communities, Black, Latinx, Native American, and other Indigenous communities to not only address gender equity in tech, but also intersectional parity.

What is your solution?

APP addresses Gender Equity in STEM, by increasing the representation of Black, Latinx, Indigenous, Pacific Islander, LGBTQIA+, women, and non-binary people in the tech industry by removing barriers to technical education while empowering through leadership development.

APP is beginner-focused and does not require a technical background or education. This “Learn & Earn” economic mobility program includes technical certifications and bootcamp-style training in software development that can typically be a financial burden on the Learner. Not only do APP participants receive the education at no-cost to them, but they are also paid a living wage that allows them to dedicate their time to advance their careers.

According to the TechEES report (2023), only 67.1% of women in tech feel a sense of belonging at their workplace. APP utilizes a cohort learning model through which participants enter the program in groups of 10-15. This creates a sense of community as they work in study groups and tackle problem solving exercises together. As they move into the on-the-job training in the apprenticeship phase, peer-to-peer support has strengthened their individual outcomes. In fact, 81.8% of participants agree or strongly agree that the cohort model was essential to their success in APP.

Upon successful completion of APP, participants may receive a FT offer of employment. In its inaugural year (2021), received 475 applications. The pilot cohort included 11 individuals. In 2022, the program almost quadrupled with 43 participants. In the first two years of the program, APP directly contributed to launching the FT tech careers of 38 Black, Latinx, Indigenous, LGBTQIA+, women, men, and non-binary people. All graduates have earned Full Stack JavaScript Techdegrees (a software development coding bootcamp) with the purpose of securing roles as software engineers. To date, 75% of APP participants have been hired into FT software engineering positions with a 100% retention rate. Participants who converted to a FT role with the corporate partner reported a 137.7% salary change.

In 2022-23, we continue to optimize the program and work with the on-the-job placement partners to collaborate on creating the inclusive tech workspace for the apprentices to thrive. After several successful cohort cycles, is ready to scale the APP to reach more individuals in more locations across the USA.

Funding from MIT Solve will enable us to expand operations to provide an inclusive cohort training model that offers technologists multiple pathways to success and to solidify program infrastructure. Through the workforce training, job placement, and technical certification programs, we will open ‘new to tech’ non-traditional pathways for rapid economic mobility, focused on recruiting diverse cohort participants. To scale impact, we will 1) expand corporate partner on-the-job training engagement to increase the number of apprenticeship cohorts per year 2) create new pathways (software dev/cyber/data analysis) and include public interest tech career pathways 3) leverage the strength of the mentorship and coaching platform within the cohort experience, and 4) expand certification and employment opportunities. Participants will have access to multi-pronged support to develop leadership skills and resilience to achieve pay equity and career advancement.

Who does your solution serve, and in what ways will the solution impact their lives?

The Apprenticeship Pathway Program (APP) is designed for Black, Latinx, Indigenous, and Pacific Islander women and non-binary aspiring technologists, who do not have a computer science or tech degree. The objective is to provide these aspiring technologists with the technical and professional skills to ultimately secure full-time employment in tech and increase economic mobility for all participants, their families, and their communities. The efficacy of APP is measured by the conversion rate of program participants into full-time employment in tech. 

To understand the needs of APP applicants and cohort members, the APP Team partners with the Evidence and Influence Team to ensure that the application process is reviewed by the DEIB specialist on staff. We also facilitate surveys and constant feedback via 1:1 check-ins, anonymous weekly reflections, and weekly cohort meetings. At the end of a cohort cycle, we produce impact reports to analyze and communicate efficacy through a data informed methodology.

The APP solution addresses the needs of participants by providing holistic, wrap-around support as they enter and advance through the program.  Cohort members receive additional career navigation support including professional development, technical learning, mentorship, and technical coaching. At the end of the program, there is the opportunity to convert to a full-time software engineering role. This support does not end once they complete the program. APP graduates can access membership as they advance in their careers and benefit from the networking opportunities and industry expertise from the global community.

How are you and your team well-positioned to deliver this solution? is a global organization with over 250,000 members and followers from over 150 countries. Through our programs and events, we offer year-round access to resources, opportunities, and peer-to-peer community support and technical expertise to work toward our mission.

We provide technologists with opportunities, programs and events, to connect with and inspire one another, develop their professional skills, find mentors, and gain recognition. The Grace Hopper Celebration (GHC) is an flagship event that brings the research and career interests of women in computing to the forefront and highlights the contributions of women to the tech world. We partner with Fortune 500 companies who seek to recruit and provide employment opportunities to over 35,000 attendees. is a diverse organization that embodies diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. The Evidence and Influence Team releases annual reports to understand the experience of technologists, strengthen existing data about the need to improve intersectional gender equity in tech, and provide an understanding about our impact so that we can examine how to better strive for transformational change. The annual Technical Equity Experience Survey (TechEES) is a global survey of technologists providing insights into the lived experiences and perceptions of equity in workplaces and schools. Top Companies for Women Technologists evaluates the technical workforce and awards companies that are making the most progress toward intersectional gender equity.

Through the Membership program, we structure the programming with a focus on four pillars of skill building opportunities to support every career level:  1) Technical Expertise: provide access to world-class technical expertise and training 2) Career Growth: support technologists to take advantage of content and information on career and skill development,  trainings, and a library of career resources  3) Community - Mentoring/Coaching: provide opportunities to interact with like-minded colleagues, gain support from other technologists, and build peer networks 4) Advocacy: activate and advocate to build an inclusive workforce of tomorrow.

The global community provides members with access to sources, mentors, coaches, networking, jobs, and advocacy. Our flagship event GHC, and our commitment to creating transformational change in the field for diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging means we continually engage with historically excluded communities in tech. This provides us with direct dialogue on their needs and improvements we can make to the program. This enables us to examine how we can support them through thriving careers.

To understand the needs of APP participants and applicants, the APP Team establishes trust with the participants  to promote open communication and feedback. There are multiple ways participants can provide feedback:

  • Slack, email, anonymously on a weekly reflection board, in scheduled 1:1s, or weekly groups. Additionally, surveys are conducted to understand the participant experience and program impact (baseline survey, Learning Phase Survey, Apprenticeship Phase Survey, and 1-year follow-up survey).
  • We have made changes based on the feedback of program participants:
    • Expand the Learning Phase timeline (from 12-16 weeks).
    • Incorporate Peer 1:1s during the Learning Phase to facilitate Cohort relationship building.
    • Hire Technical Coaches to assist with the technical learning.

Which dimension of the Challenge does your solution most closely address?

  • Create a more inclusive STEM workplace culture including through improving pay transparency, decreasing bias in hiring and promotion, introducing and upholding healthy behaviors and organizational role models, and/or bolstering wraparound supports for wor

In what city and state is your solution team headquartered?

San Mateo, CA, USA

What is your solution’s stage of development?

Growth: An organization with an established product, service, or business model that is rolled out in one or more communities

How many people does your solution currently serve?

The Apprenticeship Pathway Program (APP) has served 54 participants since the Pilot Cohort launched in 2021. To date, 74.5% of participants have received full-time offers upon program completion with a 100% retention rate at the site of their full-time offers.

In 2021, the Pilot Cohort launched with 475 applicants and 11 participants. All 11 participants matriculated into the Apprenticeship Phase upon successful completion of the Learning Phase. 9 apprentices (81.8%) converted to full-time employees upon program completion. All nine program alumni are still employed at the partner company.

In 2022, APP nearly quadrupled in size and served three cohorts with 43 participants:

  • Cohorts 1 and 2 were in the San Francisco Bay Area. The two cohorts launched together with a total of 632 applications received and 30 total participants. 28 participants matriculated into the Apprenticeship Phase upon successful completion of the Learning Phase. 19 apprentices (67.9%) converted to full-time employees upon program completion. All 19 program alumni are still employed at the partner company.
  • Cohort 3 expanded to serve our second location: San Diego, California. We received 300 applications and selected 13 participants, of which 12 participants matriculated into the Apprenticeship Phase upon successful completion of the Learning Phase. Ten apprentices (83%) converted to full-time employees upon program completion. All ten program alumni are still employed at the partner company.

Why are you applying to the Challenge?

The Apprenticeship Pathway Program is designed to create a more inclusive STEM workplace culture and model DEIB best practices for the corporate partner (tech industry) to implement and increase the representation of historically excluded communities in tech. We work with the on-the-job placement partner to clarify the needs and build the best environments for apprentice success in each phase and ultimately for easy assimilation into full-time employment. By collaborating on the apprenticeship environment and team culture, the systemic change occurs as all employees, tech mentors, and tech managers begin to embrace the changes for the entire company.

Our number one priority is to scale APP, expand cohort engagement, and ensure program stabilization to make an optimal impact on historically excluded identities in the field of tech. Being selected as a winning team would provide us with access to a network of support and input, enabling us to scale the program effectively. The input to conduct needs assessments and evaluate specific aspects of the program would help us to make decisions and program improvements.

The entire 6-month Support Program referenced in the challenge overview will support us as we add additional APP cohorts to support a more inclusive tech workplace. The support will also help us to optimize the technical learning curriculum and power skills/professional development curriculum to set apprentices up for success in their apprenticeships and careers. Additionally, it will enable us to enhance the career support and training for apprentices who do not receive full-time offers once their apprenticeship ends.

Who is the Team Lead for your solution?

Brenda Darden Wilkerson, President & CEO

How is your Team Lead connected to the community or communities in which your project is based?

Brenda Darden Wilkerson is a prominent figure in the tech industry, renowned for her dedication to promoting computer science education for all. She is the current President and CEO of, a global non-profit organization that works to connect and empower women and non-binary people in technology, with a vision of intersectional gender equity and pay parity in the tech ecosystem.

With over 30 years of experience in the technology industry, Brenda is a vocal advocate for diversity and inclusion in the field. She is a recognized leader in the movement to make computer science education accessible to all, regardless of gender, race, or socioeconomic background. Prior to joining, she spent 11 years managing computer science and information technology for Chicago Public Schools (CPS). In 2008, while she was still at CPS, she founded the groundbreaking Computer Science for All program, which aims to maximize the potential of every student through a computer science education defined by equity, empowerment, and opportunity. Also, during that time, Brenda founded the Chicago chapter of Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA). Through her efforts, she connected with educators and industry leaders to raise awareness about the importance of computer science education and the need to increase access to those opportunities.

In 2016, Brenda was appointed by President Barack Obama to the White House’s Tech Inclusion Task Force, where she worked with other experts to create strategies for increasing diversity and inclusion in the tech industry. She was also a driving force behind the launch of the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT), which seeks to increase the participation of girls and women in computing. As the leader of, Brenda has continued to influence technology equity on a global scale. Under her leadership, the organization has expanded its reach to include programs that support women and non-binary technologists at all stages of their careers, including mentorship, leadership development, and advocacy.

Brenda’s contributions to the field of technology education have been recognized with numerous awards and accolades, including the 2017 Computer Science Education Week Champion of Change Award from the White House and the 2019 Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) Lifetime Achievement Award. She is a passionate advocate for access, opportunity, and social justice in the tech industry, and her work continues to inspire and empower women, non-binary people, and historically excluded groups in technology.

More About Your Solution

What makes your solution innovative?

The Apprenticeship Pathway Program is an innovative solution because of the following components:

  • Learn & Earn Model
    • The program specifically supports historically excluded women and non-binary individuals to diversify the tech field. In doing so, apprentices are paid to learn, enabling participants to be fully immersed into the program without having to work to support themselves outside of the program. 
    • This model significantly increases economic mobility opportunities for participants with the average salary of those who receive full-time job offers upon program completion resulting in a 137.7% salary change.
  • Beginner-Focused 
    • No computer science degree is required to participate.
    • The beginner focus makes the program more accessible to individuals who are looking to break into tech who might not have previously had access to technical opportunities.
  • Professional Development Curriculum (Power Skills)
    • Self-Advocacy
    • Overcoming Imposter Syndrome
    • Giving and Receiving Feedback
    • Corporate Navigation
    • Financial Education
  • Mentorship
    • Program participants are matched with mentors who also hold technical roles during the Learning Phase and Apprenticeship Phase. Program alumni also serve as mentors for future APP participants and aspiring technologists. The mentorship component works to combat the lack of representation within the field.
  • Technical Coaches
    • Technical coaches work to support participants on their tech learning journeys when they have questions about their technical learning curriculum or how what they are learning is applicable in the role of software engineers.
    • Technical coaches are an essential component of the program to ensure all participants have the necessary tools to be successful.
  • Hands-on Experience (Apprenticeship Phase)
    • Apprentices are placed on teams to perform real tasks that are part of the responsibilities of the software engineers. They are guided on their teams and through the work by their managers and mentors (both of whom are members of their respective team).
  • The Final Outcome is Job Placement
    • An essential component of APP is that the corporate partner has the capacity, ability, and willingness to hire every apprentice, if they meet the requirements. With this model, apprentices are not in competition with each other, rather they encourage and support one another.

What are your impact goals for the next year and the next five years, and how will you achieve them?

The APP impact goals for the next year and the next five years are as follows:

  • Increase the economic mobility of participants so that, on average, participants experience a 90% increase in income upon program completion.
  • Increase the representation of Black, Latinx, Native, Pacific Islander, LGBTQIA+, women, and non-binary technologists to combat the lack of gender equity and inclusivity in the field of tech, specifically:
    • Over the next twelve months, 60 participants will enroll in APP and at least 80% of apprentices will receive offers of full-time employment as a Software Engineer 1.
    •  Over the next five years, 367 participants will enroll in APP and 85% of apprentices will receive offers of full-time employment in tech fields
  • APP has two phases: the Learning Phase and the Apprenticeship Phase. For participants to matriculate into the Apprenticeship Phase, they must complete intensive technical training in the Learning Phase. It is our goal that >95% of participants will matriculate into the Apprenticeship Phase.
  • APP currently has one employment partner for apprentices. We aim to expand the program to make it more accessible and reach more participants by increasing the number of employment partners from one to three in the next year and ten employment partners over the next five years.
  • We aim to increase applicants who are Black, Latinx, Native, and Pacific Islander from:
    • Indigenous, Native American, Alaska Native, or First Nations: from 1.34% of applicants to 3% in one year and 5% in five years.
    • Latinx : from 25.26% of applicants to 35% in one year and 45% in five years.
    • Black or African American: from 41.6% of applicants to 42% of applicants in one year and 45% in five years.
    • Pacific Islander or Native Hawaiian: from 1.34% of applicants to 2.5% in one year and 5% in five years.
  • All program alumni who did not receive full-time conversion offers will be employed within one year of the program completion. will achieve our impact goals by doing the following:

  • To achieve our applicant goals, we will increase collaboration with Minority-Serving Institutions and national affinity organizations.
  • To achieve our goals for full-time employment conversion of apprentices, we will enhance the Power Skills Curriculum to include topics such as corporate navigation, overcoming imposter syndrome as a historically excluded individual, and growth mindset.
  • To achieve our apprenticeship matriculation goals, we will enhance the Power Skills curriculum and increase technical support through the Technical Coaches, in addition to team building activities, cohort meetings, 1:1s with program staff, and increased engagement with the Membership Platform.
  • To expand APP and partner with additional companies, we will increase the resources available to corporate-facing audiences and work closely with the Business Development team to ensure APP is a priority in conversations with companies.

How are you measuring your progress toward your impact goals?

The Team measures success in the following ways:

  • APP indicators for measuring progress:
    • Full-time employment
    • Salary 
    • Benefits
    • Sense of belonging
    • Increased diversity in tech
    • Long-term: advancement and leadership
  • is measuring the APP indicators by:
    • Evidence & Influence Reports
    • Learning Phase Survey
    • Apprenticeship Phase Survey
    • 1-Year Follow-up Survey
    • Regular meetings with program participants 

Describe in simple terms how and why you expect your solution to have an impact on the problem.

Apprenticeship Pathway Program Theory of Change

As illustrated in the APP Theory of Change diagram, our solution increases the representation of historically excluded individuals in tech, as follows: When Black, Latinx, Native, and Pacific Islander women and non-binary aspiring technologists, who do not have a computer science or tech degree, want to get hired into tech roles, they will complete the Apprenticeship Pathway Program, as measured by the conversion rate to full-time employment of program participants.

If your solution is tech-based, describe the core technology that powers your solution.

Our solution is tech-based, but more importantly we use technology as the catalyst to combat the problem of lack of gender equity in tech by training and equipping aspiring technologists for technical roles.

APP participants currently focus on learning Full Stack JavaScript to be able to perform in their apprenticeships and into their full-time roles.  We aim to partner with multiple technical learning providers, but currently, our participants fulfill their technical learning through Treehouse as they pursue their Full Stack JavaScript Techdegrees. Additionally, communication is managed through Slack, meetings utilize Zoom, and leadership development is accessed from the Membership Platform.  We are exploring additional technical learning platforms and providers as the program expands. Currently, we are in discussions with MIT xPro to learn more about curriculum and course offerings that are relevant to the Apprenticeship Pathway Program.

Which of the following categories best describes your solution?

A new business model or process that relies on technology to be successful

Please select the technologies currently used in your solution:

  • Crowd Sourced Service / Social Networks
  • Software and Mobile Applications

In which US states does your solution currently operate?


In which US states will your solution be operating within the next year?

We will continue in CA and the plan is to expand into additional states.

Your Team

What type of organization is your solution team?


How many people work on your solution team?

There are currently four full-time staff work on our Apprenticeship Pathway Program Team: 

  • Brenda Darden-Wilkerson (CEO)
  • Amanda Hill-Attkisson (VP, Programs)
  • Erika Karsh (Workforce Advancement Program Manager)
  • Marlena Roberson-Bullard (Workforce Advancement Coordinator)

Part-time support of Business Development (5); Marketing & Promotion (2); Evidence and Influence (2) team members.

Contractor support: Talanda Williams (Technical Coach); Chana Traylor (Data Analyst/Tech).

Cohort-specific partners:

  • Tech Industry Corporate Partners
  • Learning Partner (technical training)
  • Coaches / Mentors (leadership development)

How long have you been working on your solution?

The Apprenticeship Pathway Program was initiated in 2021 and has been active for 2.5 years.

What is your approach to incorporating diversity, equity, and inclusivity into your work?

At, we envision a future where the people who imagine and build technology mirror the people and societies for whom they build it. We connect, inspire, and guide women and non-binary people in computing, and organizations that view technology innovation as a strategic imperative. 

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion are part of the organization's core values: with empathy, we are committed to understanding others and cooperating to achieve a fair and safe workplace. When a diverse group of people come together, we believe the world can solve problems faster, innovate for a broader audience, and empower each other to challenge the status quo.  

According to the 2022 Top Companies for Women Technologists Key Findings and Insight Report, only 27.6% of the tech industry’s representation are women - 13.1% are White women and 9.1% are Asian women. Representation is even less for Black women (2.6%), Latinx women (1.9%), Native American women (0.1%), Pacific Islander women (0.04%), and non-binary technologists (0.13%). Only 16.8% of respondents to the 2022 Technical Equity Experience Survey (TechEES) are part of the LGBTQIA community. The Apprenticeship Pathway Program (APP) was created to increase the representation of Black, Latinx, Indigenous, LGBTQIA+, women, and non-binary people in the tech industry. Apprentices are paid to learn during the program and, upon successful completion, can convert to a full-time software development career. is a Black Woman led not-for-profit DEIB organization. The Leadership Team is 76% women and 24% men. 24% of the Leadership Team identify as Black, 6% Latinx, 6% two or more races, 6% American Indian or Alaska Native, 48% white, and 12% unspecified. 

Our focus on DEIB in hiring and retention programs helps innovate, influence and contribute to the changing narrative for those excluded from the tech industry. At, we have created internal DEIB hiring resources, which includes inclusive job description guidelines and a new inclusive job description template, DEIB training and engagement opportunities for current staff, and an updated recruitment strategy to focus more on sourcing from underserved communities. We launched an updated candidate offer strategy to encourage pay equity across the org and eliminated the need for candidates to negotiate by providing our best and final offers upfront. 

Your Business Model & Funding

What is your business model? Apprenticeship Pathway Program Business Model

Do you primarily provide products or services directly to individuals, to other organizations, or to the government?

Individual consumers or stakeholders (B2C)

What is your plan for becoming financially sustainable? has a diverse revenue stream of income that includes Grace Hopper Celebration sponsorship revenue, philanthropic donations, and year-round partnerships. However, the Apprenticeship Pathway Program (APP) is currently reliant on a sole corporate partner to fund the program. As we begin to scale APP, we are working on diversifying income to support the expansion. The team is determining the strength and reliability of existing corporate partnerships, donations, and commitments, as well as identifying new donor prospects and funding. We are beginning to explore the possibility of regional cohorts and identifying local, state, and federal grants for support.

We are working toward maintaining a balanced fundraising portfolio and considering innovative forms of fundraising.

Share some examples of how your plan to achieve financial sustainability has been successful so far.

The inaugural and current corporate partner is Intuit. In the inaugural year of the Apprenticeship Pathway Program, Intuit invested $250,000 to begin the program.  In addition to this investment, Intuit provided $40.00/hr to each apprentice while enrolled in APP.

The following year (2022), Intuit tripled their investment and number of cohorts for the year.

This current year (2023), Intuit plans on running 2 cohorts and will invest approximately $750,000 in the program, plus $40.00/hr to each apprentice while enrolled in APP.

The Apprenticeship Pathways Program has grown from 1 cohort in inaugural year to 3 cohorts per year.

Solution Team

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