Capital One Foundation Empowers Indigenous Women in Tech

Through a $250,000 grant, the Foundation supports Last Mile Education Fund’s Fellowship for Indigenous Women in Tech

To help create pathways for Indigenous women in technology careers, Capital One Foundation is providing $250,000 to Last Mile Education Fund (Last Mile) to invest in its Fellowship for Indigenous Women in Tech, which will provide students with sustained funding to afford them the opportunity to focus exclusively on completing their degree programs.

Indigenous women are among the most underrepresented populations in technology, with only 104 Indigenous women (Native American, Alaskan Native and Pacific Islanders) receiving degrees in computer science in 2021 according to National Center for Education Statistics data. This can be attributed to a combination of factors such as attending lesser-resourced institutions, coming from communities experiencing generational poverty to the extreme, the impact of COVID-19 and strained tribal and federal resources.

Last Mile is on a mission to help increase the national number of Indigenous women earning degrees in computing by over 20 percent.

“The Capital One Foundation is proud to partner with the Last Mile Education Fund’s Indigenous Women in Computing Fellowship to improve representation and bring forward the creativity, expertise, and lived experience of these women to shape the technology field and influence the tech solutions of the future,” said Shena Ashley, President, Capital One Foundation. “Through financial support and mentorship, we are excited to play a role in providing access to careers that can unlock economic mobility.”

Last Mile kicks off its goal of increasing degree completion among Indigenous women in tech with this seed investment from Capital One. The fellowship program provides sustained funding for students to focus on academics, career-building and skill development, complete their degrees, and launch into technical careers.

“Capital One sees, values, and supports the incredible efforts put forth by these talented women to come as far as they have in their technical career pathways,” Ruthe Farmer, CEO and founder of Last Mile, said. “This investment will not only change their career trajectories but will also help shape a more diverse pool of global, technical talent the U.S. desperately needs to remain competitive.”

Students will receive funds to cover tuition costs, monthly living expenses, necessary books, supplies and devices, as well as provide individualized support for career prep and job search. Funds will be accepted into the fellowship on an ongoing basis, with the first cohort of fellows expected to launch in January 2023.

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