Helping young people reach their potential

The diverse coders of tomorrow

Too often, young people from marginalized groups are systemically discouraged from considering careers in financial services, due in part to the lack of opportunities as well as not seeing people like themselves— women, people of color, LGBTQI individuals — represented. Young people of all backgrounds deserve access, and Moody’s is helping foster it.

That is why we are proud to sponsor hands-on learning and mentorship for the next generation of coders, especially those in untapped communities. We have done this over the years by supporting the nonprofit Girls Who Code and by developing our own Moody’s Generation Giga Girls Data Analytics elective with the nonprofit Girls Inc. NYC.

In 2018, we went further by creating the Queer Coders program with the Hetrick-Martin Institute (HMI), our longtime partner. HMI is the largest organization in New York supporting LGBTQI youth, primarily LGBTQI youth of color, who are among the most vulnerable and often lack access to support programs.

HMI shares our passion for youth education and empowerment,and together we created a strategic vision for a program that would bridge gaps in technical knowledge and foster a safe and affirming environment for LGBTQI youth. We wanted to show how pursuing their passions in coding could help them thrive and, ultimately, maximize their opportunities for success.

“These kids often don’t get the same opportunities,” says Tom Keller, managing director of Moody’s Investors Service and HMI board member.“They need a safe space to learn the skills they need for success.”

Over the course of a four-week preliminary training period and two-week coding session at Camp Maven for LGBTQI youth, 20 high school students gained job-ready coding skills in Python, Java and Pascal, and learned about web and app design. At the Queer Coders program, students were in a supportive environment built to cultivate and encourage their independence,self-advocacy and ongoing stability. To this end, Moody’s and HMI ensured that the students had access to wraparound services, such as one-on-one and group counseling, professional development and mentorship.

Our LGBTA Employee Resource Group (ERG) took a key role in developing the Queer Coders mentorship program, and the personal passion and energy from our team were instrumental in its success.

“The ERG absolutely ran with the program. They were so moved by it and want to do it next year,” says Jennifer Stula Rivera, CSR regional head of the Americas at Moody’s Corporation.

They grow so fast

The past year saw several milestones in our youth coding programs.

Girls Who Code

In 2018, eight Girls Who Code graduates put their acquired skills to work by interning at Moody’s. As a longtime sponsor of the program, we were inspired to see years of mentorship and learning pay off for these girls as they begin promising careers within the financial services industry. Alumna Joelle Robinson, who is now a full-time Moody’s employee, says, “It was wildly enriching to meet and learn from women leaders in the tech space. The program inspired me to become a software engineer and showcased the importance of sisterhood in a diverse setting.”

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Girls Who Code graduates who completed Moody’s internships in 2018

Moody’s Generation Giga Girls (G3)

The future is also bright for Moody’s G3 Data Analytics elective facilitated by Girls Inc. NYC. Last year, we expanded our New York–based G3 program by training 30 additional teachers on our curriculum. And we are pleased to report that in 2019 we will launch three G3 pilot programs in Denver, Fort Worth,Texas, and Omaha, Nebraska, with plans to eventually expand nationwide into 15 markets.

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G3 pilot programs launching in 2019

Hack the Hood

In December 2018, we made our first grant to Hack the Hood, a nonprofit that introduces low-income youth of color to careers in tech by hiring and training them to build websites for real small businesses in their own communities. The program supported by this grant will start in 2019.

“These kids often don’t get the same opportunities. They need a safe space to learn the skills they need for success.”
TOM KELLER
MANAGING DIRECTOR, MOODY’S INVESTORS SERVICE AND HMI BOARD MEMBER

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Participants in the inaugural Queer Coders program