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TAO Member Spotlight: Jonathan Johnson

Jonathan Johnson

Where do you currently work?
Rooted School

What’s your title? 
Founder/CEO

In which city (or cities) is your company located?
New Orleans

In what year was your company founded?
2014

Describe the company you work for and its product/mission.
We are a nonprofit based in New Orleans that partners with communities across the U.S. to open charter high schools that provide a homegrown talent supply needed to sustain long-term growth—starting with tech. We accomplish this by working alongside companies to identify available entry-level jobs, distilling the skills and competencies needed to be competitive for those roles, and backward-designing our local curriculum with those skills in mind. By the end of four years with us, most students will not only receive an acceptance to a post-secondary option, but they will also receive a full-time job offer at one of our partner companies making more than the median salary for the region.

Why is your company a member of TAO?
We were invited to apply for a charter to open a high school in Vancouver, Washington. We believe that high-potential, underrepresented teens can be positioned as a diverse talent source for growing tech companies within Oregon and SW Washington. This opportunity has the chance to be a win for our community-at-large over time.

What do you, personally, like best about being a TAO member? 
While we have only been a member since spring 2020, there has been an unusual amount of philanthropic support through time, talent, and treasure that members have offered towards our mission and vision. I am optimistic about the future we can build together if we are willing to seize new opportunities to ensure all members of our community have the chance to contribute to and benefit from the wealth this community possesses.

What’s your favorite thing about our region’s tech ecosystem?
So far, we have not made a request of the ecosystem that members have not stepped up to fulfill. This is a rare attitude and spirit that has energized me the most.

What is your hope for the future of tech in Oregon & SW Washington? 
My hope is that we leverage our differences as assets in the future. And that we use our collective powers to provide local youth, especially those underrepresented across our companies, a chance to help our sector grow while ensuring they have a chance to build better lives than the ones given them.

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