On Monday in Crown Heights, the New York Liberty, Brooklyn Nets and Webull cut the ribbon on a new tech hub for Digital Girl Inc. that will offer the public a free way to use technology and take computer development classes in hoping to promote the idea of inner-city youth (especially girls) embarking on careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math).
2021 WNBA Rookie of the Year Michaela Onyen represented the Liberty at the grand opening.
The Liberty, Nets and Webull donated $250,000 for the hub to be created at the Major Owens Center and also donated new desktop Macs, PC computers and a 3D printer. Courses will be offered in programming, web design, robotics, computer science and data analysis, computer science and more.
Digital Girl has been around since 2014; its founder Michelle Gall’s goal was to get more women and people of color working in STEM. The nonprofit organization has educated more than 9,000 New Yorkers in computer science.
“A quarter of people in central Brooklyn live below the poverty line and the pandemic has only exacerbated that condition, highlighting that the digital divide is more like a digital canyon,” Gall said. “Giving this community the exposure, education, skills, training and confidence to build wealth is critical; to obtain positions that offer career progression and competitive salaries. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, STEM occupations offer nearly 50% higher salaries than non-STEM occupations and the goal of the DGI Tech Center is to fill the gap in STEM resources that this community has been lacking.
“Exposure, opportunity, and access to resources are often determining factors in the future careers of young people of color,” said Keia Clarke, CEO of Liberty. “In partnership with Webull and the Nets, this revamped space at Digital Girl will create limitless opportunities for the next generation of STEM leaders and the broader Brooklyn community.”