Jasmine Miller, Chief Training Officer for Per Scholas and pioneer for equity, shares her vision for women in IT.
March 29, 2023 | By Jasmine Miller
At TEKsystems, we partner with organizations whose missions match our purpose. Since 2015, we have worked with Per Scholas, a national organization advancing economic mobility for over 25 years, unlocking potential for individuals and America’s technology workforce. Our partnership enables job seekers to make a more streamlined, direct connection to in-demand employment opportunities in tech.
In honor of Women’s History Month, we sat down with Jasmine Miller to chat about how Per Scholas is focused on ensuring IT is equitable and inclusive.
Equity at Her Core
Jasmine Miller has committed her life’s work to increasing equity for various populations. Her social work background led her to advocate for women, particularly in workforce development. She joined Per Scholas in 2016 as the managing director of the campus in Atlanta, where she worked for four years, growing the local training program from 80 to 200 learners, expanding local partnerships and doubling local funding. She then served for two years as regional senior vice president for the South and Midwest, broadening Per Scholas’ scope from five to eight local markets. Now, as chief training officer, she leads training efforts for thousands of learners and alumni across 20+ Per Scholas campuses nationwide.
Miller was born in the Caribbean, raised in Canada and then immigrated to the U.S.—specifically, Atlanta, GA. “I chose Atlanta because I knew I wanted to connect with other Black women who I knew would inspire me daily.”
Obstacles for Women in IT: Barriers But Not Roadblocks
Some may look at the current demographic breakdown of women in IT and wrongfully assume that women aren’t “made” for careers in IT because they are underrepresented in the industry. “That’s a grave misconception,” Miller says, “and one we work daily to disprove.” Miller and her team have the numbers to show for it. In 2022, 41% of Per Scholas learners nationwide were women.
“Imposter syndrome can be a problem for women in any male-dominated field,” Miller continues, “but because the IT industry is 75% male, the data shows that women report a lower rate of belonging than men.” In fact, 85% of men in IT feel a sense of belonging at work versus 58% of women. Those numbers are part of what motivates Miller’s work for Per Scholas. “The needle will move when women are encouraged to bring their full selves to work and welcomed into an environment that supports them.”
Per Scholas Makes Training Accessible to Women and People of Color
Tech continues to be one of the nation's fastest-growing and most in-demand industries. Many people reevaluated their career priorities during the pandemic. It makes sense for women to pivot to a career in IT because of potential remote work, flexible schedules and growth opportunities. Per Scholas offers a variety of tuition-free tech training programs for women—and men—to make that career transition.
Jasmine Miller is leading the charge to expand Per Scholas’ training program to train 10,000 learners annually in the next five years.
“We have an incredible recruiting and outreach team to promote our programs at Per Scholas. We listen to feedback from alumni about how we can improve our programs, work closely with our partners, including Women in Technology, and focus on local recruiting in communities where we can target specific populations.”
Interested in a Career in IT? Follow This Advice
Miller shared her insights for women looking to transition into or grow in an IT career:
- Know your value. It’s essential to understand the value you’d add to any organization, regardless of the demographics. You are your own advocate, and your insights, skills and opinions matter. Recognizing your worth is a great way to battle imposter syndrome.
- Do your research. The IT industry is growing rapidly. There are plenty of opportunities for candidates. Research companies before you accept their offer. What is the culture like? Do they have inclusive messaging in the job description and company website? Is your interview conducted in an inclusive manner? What do their current and past employees have to say?
- Build relationships. Creating a network of people who you can count on throughout your career is critical. That includes those who can find you the right opportunity and appreciate your value, like specialized IT recruiters, and those who can coach you, advocate for you and help you move through the organization, like mentors and sponsors. Take the time to nurture those relationships—they can be the difference between a good career and a great one.
If you or someone you know is interested in learning more about the training programs Per Scholas offers, apply here.