Evanston/Northshore YWCA kicks off third cohort of YW Tech Lab – Daily Northwestern


The Evanston/North Shore YWCA recently started working with its third cohort of the YW Tech Lab, a free, 16-week web design technology program. 

The lab hopes to increase opportunities for groups traditionally excluded from the field, including women of color, domestic violence survivors and low-wage workers. The program launched in Evanston in January 2020 and joins four other YWCA’s nationwide in receiving a Tech Lab grant. 

Despite its recent arrival to Evanston, the program was started in Wisconsin in 2014 as “YWeb Career Academy.” The program is a dual partnership between the YWCA national organization and Google.

Oakton Community College will work with the YWCA to provide a professor well-versed in web design. Course enrollees learn computer languages to build and create websites. Across the 16 weeks, they learn content equivalent to two OCC courses and receive seven hours of credit from OCC. 

Shannon Callahan, Evanston/North Shore YWCA women’s leadership and economic advancement director, said this program has increased community educational opportunities, especially because it launched in the height of the pandemic, when unemployment rates were high.

“Last December, during our virtual open houses to promote this opportunity, so many women who were in that call had lost their jobs because of COVID,” Callahan said. “The fact that we had an opportunity to provide a program that could be facilitated virtually and would give them skills that would set them up for success in the future was one of those moments that was