By Tom O’Connell, Interim Executive Director, Code/Interactive
On May 22nd, the third annual Diversity In Tech Awards will bring together dozens of industry and government supporters to illuminate the diversity gap in tech and more importantly, its solvability for leaders in tech, government, and education. All proceeds for the event will go to Mouse and Code/Interactive, two nonprofits that give access to STEM and computer science for predominantly low-income schools.
Why is there a lack of diversity in tech? According to “The Leaky Tech Pipeline,” a report produced by the Kapor Center, the problem that we see in tech companies starts much earlier in K-12 education. Only 1% of venture-backed companies are started by a Black or Latinx founder. This professional pipeline is fed by higher education, where the graduate enrollment rate in computer science for white students in 8x higher than for Latinx students.
An overwhelming majority of students who study CS in college have had a significant computer science experience beforehand, yet low income students and students of color are 12x less likely to have access to CS courses in their high schools. This is why the Diversity in Tech Awards exists and why it supports nonprofits Mouse and Code/Interactive with their work at the beginning of the pipeline.
The celebration will be hosted at the Bowery Hotel with featured guests from major companies that are working on this issue in earnest and celebrating their efforts up and down the pipeline at the Diversity in Tech Awards.
The evening starts with a panel discussion “Building a Diverse Tech Talent Pipeline,” including:
- Lisa Opoku, Chief Operating Officer, Goldman Sachs Technology Division
- Kelli Dragovich, SVP People Operations/HR at Hired, Inc.
The beneficiary organizations for this event, Mouse and Code/Interactive, are two leading national organizations working on closing the opportunity gap for low-income students and students of color in technology. Mouse is a national youth development nonprofit that empowers all students to create with technology to solve real problems and make meaningful change in our world. Code/Interactive (C/I) is a nonprofit that trains educators and builds inclusive computer science programs. The Diversity In Tech Awards will be featuring computer science teachers trained by Code/Interactive and Mouse alumni who have done exemplary work in building the tech talent pipeline for others around them.
For the last two years, the Diversity In Tech Awards has attracted over 600 senior leaders in the tech, finance, marketing, real estate, design & creative industries that define NYC’s economy, plus colleagues from government, the school system and academe; with a focus also on next-generation leaders from groups underrepresented in tech. This event will be held in partnership with Hired, with support from many generous sponsors, including Goldman Sachs, Best Buy, Hired, IBM, Facebook, AT&T, Blackrock, Media Math, RBC Capital Markets, Coca-Cola, ROKO Labs, True[X], Yext, Dropbox, among others.
Here’s what people are saying about the importance of diversity in tech
“While the national attention on STEM programs is increasing, the opportunity gap remains enormous. This is further exaggerated in underserved communities, which also adds a diversity challenge. Despite the best efforts of many nonprofit organizations and attention from the US Government and private-sector funding, we remain woefully behind in terms of scalable and repeatable programs.” –Kirk McDonald, Chief Marketing Officer, AT&T Advertising and Analytics and Chair, Board of Directors, Code/Interactive
“Diversity provides different intellectual dimensions and perspectives. Diverse ideas and approaches make us more innovative as it challenges our thinking. Empowering minorities, such as women, and promoting them in leadership roles is important as many are capable to do the same things as men, especially in technology.” — Kim, Mouse Alum
“All students deserve a quality and comprehensive computer science K-12 education, yet only 40% of schools offer computer science. Access to CS education can be a one-way ticket out of poverty for many of the youth that we serve, so we are proud to bring together our most enthusiastic supporters to celebrate these efforts during the Diversity In Tech Awards.”
-Tom O’Connell, Interim Executive Director at Code/Interactive
Mouse is a national youth development nonprofit that empowers all students to create with technology to solve real problems and make meaningful change in our world. Mouse is committed to closing the diversity gap in STEM and opening opportunities for youth from underserved communities across the country. Learn more at mouse.org.
Code/Interactive (C/I) is a nonprofit that trains educators and builds inclusive computer science programs. C/I provides districts, schools, educational organizations, and teachers with the curriculum, tools, and training necessary to implement K-12 computer science programs aligned to their goals and needs. Learn more at codeinteractive.org
Also published on Medium.
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