December 5, 2022

Natives Rising Wins Grant Funding To Get Native American Women In Tech

A holistic career accelerator platform for indigenous founders, Natives Rising, has received extra funding to help support and grow the number of indigenous women graduating college with STEM degrees. 

The non-profit organization, co-founded by Danielle Forward and Betsy Fore, is on a mission to close the racial gap, which sees only 0.6% of scientists and engineers from a Native American background break into the industry. 

According to a recent National Center for Education Statistics report, a small number of Black and Indigenous women – approximately 4% – end up leaving college with a degree in computing. 

The number of women of color leaving college with the skills needed to pursue a long-standing career in computing is estimated to double in 2052. Although this may seem optimistic, 25 years from now, fewer people will be graduating, which is why Native Rising’s work is working to address the issues now rather than later.

“Native Americans are the most impoverished group in the US – they are being hit the hardest by inflation right now as a result,” said co-founder Danielle Forward. 

“While the tech industry is slowing down on hiring, tech jobs remain one of the most economically empowering, in-demand job opportunities of the future, especially for those who desire remote work.” 

The grant received from the Reboot Representation Tech Coalition will help Native Rising double the number of Black, Latina, and Native Americans graduating with specialist degrees in computing. 

“Building culturally relevant education and pathways can build bridges by showing Native American students how tech relates to their experiences,” said Dwana Franklin-Davis, CEO of Reboot Representation Tech Coalition, in a statement. “We’re proud to partner with Natives Rising to create vibrant, viable pathways in tech.” 

The initiative aims to recruit as many Native women as possible to help them break into the tech industry. By providing accessible routes like scholarships, mentoring, education, and workplace opportunities, women from underprivileged backgrounds can access the fundamental skills needed to succeed in the tech space. 

Kumba Kpakima

Kumba Kpakima is a tech reporter at POCIT. A documentary about the knife crime epidemic in the UK got her a nomination for the UK's #30toWatch Young Journalists of the Year.