Access to opportunity, particularly within the technology ecosystem, isn’t always created equal.
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Challenge

According to a recent USA Today article on June 26, 2014 by Jessica Guynn and Elizabeth Weise, the technology industry’s predominantly white and Asian male workforce is in danger of losing touch with the diverse nation – and world – that forms its customer base. Recently released numbers from some of the largest and most powerful companies confirm what many had suspected: Blacks and Hispanics are largely absent, and women are underrepresented in Silicon Valley – from giant companies to startup-ups to venture capital firms.

Code.org predicts that there will be one million (1,000,000) more computing jobs than students by 2020.

Additionally, less than one percent of the more than $25B U.S. angel and $25B in venture capital is invested in underrepresented companies each year. This is attributed to the lack of talent, fundable startups and early stage companies and access to seed and early stage capital.

Opportunity

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Opportunity Hub, TechSquare Labs (in Atlanta) and The Iron Yard have partnered to address this issue by creating CodeStart and the Tech Opportunity Fund as apart of the Whitehouse’s Techhire Initiative.
CodeStart is a year-long, full time immersive coding, career readiness and entrepreneurship created in partnership with the City of Atlanta’s Workforce Development Agency. As a part of the Whitehouse Techhire initiative, CodeStart aims to train disconnected youth with barriers to opportunity and provide them with upwardly mobile careers in technology as software engineers and technical cofounders.
The Tech Opportunity Fund is the product of a public-private partnership of organizations committed to providing access to technology education for all. The Fund is designed to remove financial barriers for people who are underrepresented in the technology industry, including but not limited to: women, people of color, military personnel and people with disabilities. Students with financial need are encouraged to apply to receive a full-tuition scholarship to attend a full-time, immersive code school and take the first step toward a fulfilling career in technology. The Iron Yard teaches intensive, immersive three-month courses that mentor students into a professional junior-level programmer. The courses go far beyond tactical skills and teach students how to think like software engineers and effectively navigate the opportunities throughout the technology ecosystem. Programming and entrepreneurship are lifelong studies and our process shows students how to learn and continue to learn so they’ll remain highly valuable for the rest of their career – whether they are working for a company or starting their own.

Scholarships

The Iron Yard is committing the initial scholarships to the Tech Opportunity Fund. Learn more here.

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