The technology industry has exploded in the last half-century and continues to keep the upward momentum. For example, Uber and Boeing will soon launch flying cars, artificial intelligence and biotech are unfolding at an unprecedented rate, and future cars may even run on hydrogen. Technology is undeniably the driving force of the future, but the Black workforce is woefully underrepresented in the tech world. The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission states that only 7% of high-tech workers are Black. The number of Black women in tech fields is even lower. Here’s a quick look at 5 organizations bridging the digital divide and promoting technology opportunities within the Black community.
#YesWeCode is a program of the parent non-profit, Dream Corps. Co-founded by CNN commentator Van Jones, and led by Vien Truong, #YesWeCode strives to help young boys and girls from minority backgrounds, particularly Black kids, break into the tech sector. The initiative runs several programs across the country including a scholarship program, The Coding Corps (job training), and hackathons. Dream Corps itself pushes to enact legislation changes at both federal and state levels that will impact inclusivity and diversity in the technology sector. You can also find tech jobs listed directly on Dream Corps’ website.
Black Tech Unplugged
Black Tech Unplugged is one of the few podcasts that focus on Black people in the tech industry. Created by Deena McKay to galvanize aspiring tech entrepreneurs, the podcast showcases a successful Black techpreneur each episode. The host, Deena McKay, shares first-hand experience of the difficulties and rewards of being a Black woman in tech. The podcast guests discuss their struggles, their accomplishments, and their current work. Black Tech Unplugged is a great listen for any Black person hoping to break into the tech field.
The Hidden Genius Project
The Hidden Genius Project helps young Black men tap into their hidden potential by providing technological and STEM training. Founded in 2012, the Hidden Genius project hopes to reduce the high unemployment rate for young Black men by preparing them for jobs in the tech industry, the fastest growing job market today. The Hidden Genius Project has a Catalyst program that hosts free workshops and inspirational events for Black teens. The Immersion program is a 15-month-long program geared for Black highschool boys that focuses on computer science, software engineering, and leadership skills.
Code2040 is named for the year that Black and Latinx people are expected to be the majority in our country. This nonprofit places its Black and Latinx participants into internships at various tech companies across the country. The only requirement is that the intern is a software engineering student. By gaining industry experience, these students are better equipped for their industries upon graduating, creating better job opportunities in the long-run.
Black Girls Code
Black Girls Code seeks to help the most excluded minority in tech narrow the digital divide. The goal of this nonprofit is to inspire young Black girls to learn programming skills in order to gain access to higher-paying industry careers in the future. Kimberly Bryant, a Black programmer, started Black Girls Code because she realized being a Black woman in tech was a little like being a unicorn - sought-after but difficult to find. Black Girls Code aims to put more Black girls in tech jobs by teaching one million Black girls to code by 2040.