Diversity in Tech: This is How You Do It

April 20, 2016

Last summer, Code Fellows signed the Portland Tech Diversity Pledge and launched the Pay It Forward Diversity Scholarship Fund.

As a career school, we feel that the biggest and most immediate impact we can make is to rapidly train up as developers women, minorities and veterans and to place these graduates directly into the local workforce.

As a baseline, Code Fellows committed to awarding scholarships to at least three students per course across our Portland and Seattle campuses. We ask local tech companies and benefactors to contribute financially to the mission, and we ask companies who hire our graduates to “pay it forward” by donating to the fund in order to train the next cohort of diverse developers.

Eight months later, Code Fellows has awarded more than $350,000 in scholarships to 101 students.

Among scholarship recipients in Portland, Laura Kuhner is now senior web developer at Nike. Tara Kreft has been hired as a full-stack developer at Jaguar Land Rover. Javier Quiroz accepted work with ForgeRock, and Sonya Trachsel was just hired on at eROI. In our current Code 301 cohort, seven women are attending on diversity scholarships.

We are incredibly grateful for the support we have received from the Portland tech community in this effort. The Portland Development Commission, Puppet Labs and Pop Art have generously supported the scholarship program.

Beyond training and placing diverse talent into Portland’s tech workforce, Code Fellows is committed to providing events that are of value to the community and that inspire action with regard to diversity.

On April 27, Code Fellows is teaming up with Urban Airship and Uncorked Studios to present: Diversity in Tech: This is How You Do It.

We will hear from representatives of companies that have successfully moved the needle on diversifying their teams, and we’ll discuss how they do it and why. Then, job seeking attendees will have the opportunity to connect with employers through two-minute flash introductions. We promise a pool of diverse job-seekers, and we invite recruiters, hiring managers, CTOs, and VPs of engineering of Portland companies to connect with them directly during this portion of the event. Tech company recruiters and representatives, as well as job-seekers: RSVP here.

The “pipeline” is perhaps most frequently cited as one of the largest barriers to creating developer teams of diverse individuals. We hear from recruiters and engineering managers that “the resumes just don’t cross my desk.”

Code Fellows is on a mission to change that.

We have a proven curriculum taught by industry professionals, and we have diverse talent lining up at our door. The only barrier to training up more people from underrepresented groups is the number of scholarships we have to award. Your tax-deductible donation will help us increase the number of individuals whose lives we touch and get those resumes in front of you. Read more about the Pay If Forward Diversity Scholarship program, and donate here.

About Author

Jordana Gustafson
Campus Director
Code Fellows Portland