YWCA web design class attracts moms looking for career shift

Cindy F. Cape

When 60-year-old Anita Perkins got an email in December 2020 about a free YWCA web design course geared toward women of color, she tried to get her daughter to attend.

“But the more I listened to the initial orientation, [the more] I took an interest, and she did not,” Perkins said. 

So that winter at the YW Tech Lab, Perkins took her first web development course, feeling encouraged by the presence of other students with whom she could relate. 

“There were more women around my age range who were also taking the course,” she said.

Slightly more than two years later, Perkins is pursuing a certificate in web development at Oakton Community College as she continues working in the insurance industry. 

The YW Tech Lab offers a free, virtual 18-week-long web-design course that has a track record of attracting mothers 35 and older looking for a career change, according to Kristin Drake, the workforce development coordinator at the Evanston YWCA chapter.

“Women interested in learning how to code for internships, entry levels [or for other levels of] employment” might find value in the program, Drake said, while adding that the class is open to all. “We’re geared to everyone. We’re not just geared toward women.”

The program, a partnership between the YWCA Evanston/Northshore and Oakton Community College, offers an array of support for students. The YWCA is a month deep into its fourth cohort with 17 members.

YWCA web design class attracts moms looking for career shift

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