Upskilling Women of Color: The Mom Project Announces RISE Upskilling Initiative


RISE will help 10,000 women of color by providing scholarships to highly credible and relevant technology certifications from organizations such as Google and Salesforce. 

On the one hand, the Black Lives Matter movement has forced organizations to dig deeper into their agenda of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and how to take it beyond lip service. On the other hand, the pandemic has widened gender and race inequality and affected working mothers more adversely than others. What can be done to alleviate this negative impact and bring women who have lost their jobs or pushed back in their careers due to home responsibilities?

Seeing the seriousness of this issue, The Mom ProjectOpens a new window has announced the creation of its not-for-profit 501(c)(3), MomProject.orgOpens a new window , and its new initiative, RISE, which aims to reduce the drop in workplace equality over a time frame of three years. The goal for RISE is to help 10,000 women of color by providing scholarships to highly credible and relevant technology certifications from organizations such as Google and Salesforce.

Women are typically the primary caregivers at home, but many also have full-time jobs. This does not discount the fact that they also need access to career development opportunities through upskilling, especially as the pandemic has created several redundancies across industries.

Women and people of color have been affected by this disproportionately. To remain employable and grow their income beyond current levels, they need to retrain.

RISE Will Upskill Women of Color to Help the Creation of a Diverse Talent Pool

RISE will begin by providing mentoring and pro bono coaching through The Mom Project’s RALLYOpens a new window and UnityOpens a new window programs. It will also share educational resources for children of women who are part of this initiative. Then, a personalized path will be created and the expenses covered. Women will also be provided with fully funded technology certificate programs for both entry- and mid-level professionals. The Mom Project will assist them with job placements.

The degree of effort that Mom Project is putting in indicates the depth and breadth of the issue. Not only are women of color getting neglected or left out when it comes to upskilling them, but they are also not receiving the mentoring support they need during these trying times to continue their careers.

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Why Are Projects Such as RISE Essential in 2020 and Beyond?

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has projectedOpens a new window that 11% of the jobs women currently hold (a higher percentage than those men hold currently) are at risk of elimination as a result of artificial intelligence (AI) and other digital technologies. This is a cause for concern.  Researchers call this phenomenon the “concrete wall,” or the barriers that hold Black employees, especially Black women, from reaching senior level positions.

In addition, two McKinsey studies have found that job losses for Black Americans will impact 4.5 million individualsOpens a new window , and automation could force more than 100 million womenOpens a new window to find new occupations by 2030. Companies need to create specific programs to reskill and upskill these talent pools quickly, especially by first identifying the skills required for the future. RISE by The Mom Project aims to support this movement to a certain extent.

Apart from offering upskilling initiatives, companies would benefit from providing their employees of color, especially women, mentorship opportunities. Creating a culture of openness and approachability is critical. Black women should be able to reach out and seek mentors and sponsors who can guide them on critical skills, such as making their performance visible and becoming more vocal in meetings. Companies like Accenture have instituted programs for women to achieve this.

Companies and leaders need to create mentors to help women and other underrepresented groups, but these mentors should be groomed to become sponsors too.

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With this wealth of data that puts the entire picture in perspective, it’s time for organizations to drive this change to upskill and mentor women of color from the forefront.