When TDS was presented with an opportunity to help the next generation build their technology skills, the company went all-in. TDS is a proud sponsor of Maydm, a Madison, Wisconsin-based group dedicated to providing girls and youth of color with skill-based training for the tech sector.
The support of this group is currently being led by the Women in Technology (WIT) Employee Resource Group. Under the coordination of Carla B. and Theresa K., both managers of Application Development and Management, 10 WIT members have been acting as mentors for a group of kids at Sennett Middle School in Madison.
“The kids have been participating in a career and coding initiative program after school, each building a website,” explains Carla. “Since the start of the school year, TDS mentors have been visiting once a month to check in, share stories about their own careers and career paths, and help connect kids with STEM fields that match their interests.”
Clearly the kids are getting some expert guidance in the form of TDS mentorship—but the mentors are getting lots out of the program too.
“It’s been so neat seeing the kids excited and it’s amazing how technically savvy they are,” says Theresa. “I’ve been just floored by what they can do. At one after school session they did so much work to research a notable female figure in STEM and then present what they learned. They really connected with the stories of these women.”
Beyond participating in sessions at the middle school, the WIT group took it a step further and hosted the kids at TDS’ lab.
Organized on site by Kelly B., manager of Technology Integration, each Maydm participant was paired up with two WIT members for a tour which included six different stop-and-learn stations. At each stop the students heard from an expert about TDS services and the various equipment used to deliver them.
There were many wows about the space, the cost of the equipment, and how it all works—but the tour didn’t end there. When the kids were done seeing everything, they even got some hands-on troubleshooting experience. At three stations—one for TV, one for internet, and one for phone service—the students helped fix mock troubles on the networks.
The smiles on the kids’ faces, and shouts of “Cool!” and “I did it!” proved the event was both fun and educational.
“Being a sponsor has been a really rewarding experience,” says Carla. “We’ll be getting involved late summer 2019 to help plan next year’s activities with Maydm and get a plan in place for volunteering again.”