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Hello everyone, @karlitaliliana here. Excited to answer any questions and tell you about the direction @Code2040 has chosen. #TheNewCode2040
When @Code2040 started what we heard from all parts of the industry was that this was “a pipeline issue” & so we set out to create a pipeline. Over the course of 6 years, on a non-profit budget, & several very dedicated staff, we created a Black & Latinx pipeline of tech talent.
This year alone @Code2040 had 1000 applications for the Fellows Program in the first week of the Fellows Program launch. We have around 700 Fellows Program alums and 300 alums from our various other programs (TAP, Tech Trek, ECAP). That is a pipeline.
What we found is that the structural barriers to entry for Black and Latinx people meant that though we had a thriving population of talent we had supported in gaining access to the industry, the industry itself was not ready to change and allow the talent in it’s doors.
Interview processes were arbitrary and while we had students quickly and easily getting into and transitioning into full-time work at places like @SlackHQ, @Medium, @Taskrabbit and many others — other companies would say the pool of candidates wasn’t qualified enough.
At that point we worked w/ companies to help them understand how their hiring process was disproportionately taking out Black & Latinx talent. For the companies willing to be in a self-reflective process with us, we saw major change in their ability to hire Black & Latinx people.
& yet, for so many, they saw their processes as sacrosanct OR they were unwilling to pay the operational costs of the program.
So we would get into the middle of hiring cycles where we were chasing around folks to meet their objectives and/or philanthropically subsidizing the HR work of companies with valuations in the billions.
We knew we had to do something. It was not enough for @Code2040 to become yet another credential that allowed people in. We had to change so that we were supporting the change of structural barriers to leadership and participation.
On the other end, we saw incredible changes happening as a result of our community. Alums and volunteers alike who put their own social capital on the line to ensure that the doorways got wider.
This would mean that even if a Black and/or Latinx person didn’t have @Code2040 in their resume, they were still going to have a better chance to get into tech because of our community.
Then our community members started to ask us “What else can we do?” “I’m in, tell me what I should be saying, doing, and/or training people to do.”
So then we had to make some very painful decisions. The Fellows Program costs were exploding because of how operationally intensive some companies were making it to hire. We were coming up against the same issues over and over again.
And we had an activated community that was sitting there asking us what they should do.
At this point, we decided that as painful as it was, we would only open the Fellows Program to the companies that were truly committed to the work. We went from working with 70 companies to what will be 30 companies in the next year.
Those 30 companies, in addition to paying for the program, would sign up to make some structural changes to their processes as well as sign a public pledge. All of that will be released in the Spring.
But the reasoning was, if you were gonna get access to our people, you had to do more to earn it then put in a small amount of cash.
Our programs, all of them, had to become strategies for how we wanted structural changes to happen in tech. We had to be less attached to the size of our work than the actual impact of it.
I mean, what good was it if @Code2040 was successful at getting students in the door if the conditions for Black and/or Latinx people to participate and lead stayed the same?
We knew from data and experience at this point that this was much more complex than being a pipeline issue. We could not aid and abet that narrative.
So that lands us here. A restructured @Code2040 whose focus is early career programs, community, and knowledge sharing work.
We have shifted our focus from the pipeline work to making sure every member of our community is equipped with the tools to make change wherever they sit in our tech industry.
This will mean workshops explicitly for healing & retention of our community, trainings for management & allyship, sharing in actionable ways the data (quantitative & qualitative) & research we come into contact w/ as a result of working w/ a large cross-section of the industry.
Ultimately, in 5 years we want 10% of the industry to be managed, mentored, organized, and/or trained by you. And we want to create the tools, frameworks, trainings, and programs that help you get there.
The team has been working so hard for the last 6 months to ensure that we are centering Black and/or Latinx participation and leadership in the sector. I am so proud of them. It has been truly awe inspiring to watch.
When we started we had 30 years to make these changes, & now we have about 20. In that time two things will happen—the rules for a new digital economy, a digital revolution, will be created. We will see a shift that makes Black & Latinx folks the largest demographics in the US.
It is an economic imperative for the health of the country that we build the new economy with Black and Latinx leadership at the table and we are moving with the urgency of knowing that. Blink and we will miss this once in a generation opportunity.
I just said many things, are there any questions? #TheNewCode2040
We want to give a big THANK YOU to the folks who have been so supportive as we charted this path. @tristanwalker @nmsanchez @marcprecipice @kristentitus @6gems @ekp @operaqueenie @reyfaustino @andraq & those who made themselves available for a talk, push, nudge & kind words.
Oh and let me not forget, come celebrate our 7 years and the new direction at our 7th anniversary party next week! Details: 🎉 See you there! —@karlitaliliana #TheNewCode2040
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