CHICAGO — Sept. 24, 2020 — The pandemic has wiped out more than a decade’s worth of progress in gender equality, and women of color have been the most significantly impacted.
In response, The Mom Project today announced the creation of its not-for-profit 501(c)(3), MomProject.org, as well as its inaugural initiative, RISE, to address the dramatic backslide in workplace equality due to COVID-19.
Over the next three years, RISE will elevate 10,000 women of color by providing scholarships to highly sought after technology certificates such as Google and Salesforce that will bolster their earning potential. The model is built from the understanding that while upskilling, moms need to also be able to earn income and provide for their families, often as a primary earner.
“Women of color are in the fight of their lives and we can’t sit on the sidelines,” said Allison Robinson, Founder and CEO of The Mom Project. “Through the formation of MomProject.org and the launch of RISE, we are deepening our commitment to improving more lives and households and charting more paths of success for women of color. We know moms are the backbone of the family and investing in her development has the opportunity to transform the trajectory of her family’s life for decades to come.”
RISE begins by providing mentoring and pro bono coaching through The Mom Project’s RALLY and Unity programs, along with educational resources for her children. From there, a personalized path is formed. Women are mentored into upskilling courses where they have the highest likelihood for success and growth. Candidates in RISE will have all upskilling and mentoring expenses covered, including fully funded technology certificate programs for both entry- and mid-level professionals. Graduating candidates are then accelerated into their new job placement through The Mom Project and its network of program and corporate partners.
RISE partners with proven technology upskilling providers, such as CareerCircle, whose primary focus is to provide candidates with one-on-one program support and guidance through the curriculum and future job search. This approach is proven to be more successful, enabling a 195% increase in graduation rates within three months versus the traditional fully self-guided approach.
This fall, MomProject.org will offer three upskilling tracks enabled by CareerCircle, with scholarships for certificate programs for Salesforce Administrator, Google IT Support, and Microsoft Learn.
“We are working to build positive momentum in this space by providing our communities with access to the right curriculum, the support they need during the training, and advocacy for their hire upon completion,” said Kimberly Sneeder, Managing Director of CareerCircle. “By presenting a full 360 degree view of who they are, and encouraging employers to #RethinkQualified, we can begin to make a difference.”
There is no time to waste as Black women face a 16.9% unemployment rate due to the pandemic, while Hispanic women face a 16.7% unemployment rate. Not only are they losing their jobs, but returning to the workforce is harder for women of color, who frequently experience higher unemployment rates than their white counterparts.
While many women have earned positions of leadership in the American workforce, women of color continue to lag behind. There are approximately 20% of women in C-suite positions, though only 3% are women of color.
Through TheMomProject.org and RISE, The Mom Project’s hope is to take an important step forward in enabling women of color to break through this swelling glass ceiling.
“American women have the power, courage and talent to lift their families up by their bootstraps, especially during these trying times, but the shoes have to fit,” Robinson said. “RISE is here to help women find their right fit so they can be properly equipped to climb all the way to the top.”
About The Mom Project
The Mom Project is the leader in helping businesses attract and retain female talent. With a community of more than 300,000 talented professionals connecting to 2,000+ companies, The Mom Project is committed to building a better workplace by harnessing the oft-overlooked intellectual workplace power of moms. The Chicago-based company was founded in 2016 by Allison Robinson, who serves as CEO, and has raised $36M in funding to date. Serena Williams joined The Mom Project as a Strategic Advisor in early 2020 to further mobilize the mission.