A Year in Review Part 2: Diversity, Access, and Social Impact

By

General Assembly Social Good Black Girls Code Workplace Diversity

This year we partnered with Black Girls Code to increase access to STEM education. Photo courtesy of Black Girls Code.

With a mission to close the global skills gap and help people pursue work they love, General Assembly strives to create opportunities that impact a vast range of communities.

This year, we were proud to voice our support for access to education and inclusive hiring in the media. We spoke out about promoting computer science education through the Computer Science for All Initiative, and released a white paper on skills-based hiring. We partnered with many innovative organizations to make a difference in the tech sector, launching new campaigns and programs to promote equality in startup funding, champion computer science education for kids, help New Yorkers get well-paying data jobs, and much more.

Here are some highlights from the year:

We continued to advocate for diversity in tech.

On Women’s Equality Day, we launched our #ilooklikeadeveloper campaign to empower women in tech and inspire women and girls who are considering careers in web development. In another effort to boost the role and visibility of women in business, we partnered with Frank + Oak for the 50/50 Founders’ Fund. This unique program grants socially conscious leaders $10,000 in seed stage funding, and splits the award evenly between male and female entrepreneurs.

To benefit the next generation of tech professionals, we established a relationship with Black Girls Code, an organization that provides young and preteen girls of color with access to STEM education. We invited the GA community to join our pledge to tell elected officials that we support computer science education for all. They rose to the challenge, and we were able to donate $1 to Black Girls Code for every person who signed the pledge — a sum totaling over $5,000.

In addition to fostering new talent, we also explored ways to improve how candidates are hired. Fast Company highlighted our efforts to transform employers’ hiring practices by teaching them how to eliminate unconscious bias.

General Assembly Social Good Workplace Diversity

Adobe Digital Academy students at GA’s San Francisco campus.

GA and Adobe launched the Adobe Digital Academy.

To increase access to professional experiences in tech, we partnered with Adobe to create the Adobe Digital Academy. This Bay Area–based program focuses on offering opportunities in technology to underrepresented communities. Selected candidates receive Opportunity Fund scholarships (see more below) for GA’s Web Development Immersive course, where they learn to become full-stack web developers. Graduates then participate in a three-month technical internship at Adobe, with the goal of ultimately landing a full-time position.

We partnered with the City of New York to help underemployed New Yorkers secure well-paying data jobs.

Some adults who are underemployed are unable to take three months off of work to enroll in a full-time Immersive course at GA, making it hard for them to get the education and support they need to make a career switch. To help those in NYC level up in their careers, we collaborated with the city’s Tech Talent Pipeline to create a custom part-time, 12-week data analysis course and career development program to address the unique needs of this community. The program prepares participants for jobs as data analysts earning salaries of $40,000 or more.

More than 200 students received scholarships to full-time GA courses through our Opportunity Fund and other endeavors.

GA’s Opportunity Fund provides fully funded scholarships to our Immersive courses in full-stack web development, user experience design, and Android development for low-income individuals, giving them the lift they need to transform their careers. The recipients come from communities facing barriers to tech, including women, people of color, LGBTQ individuals, and veterans.

Speaking of veterans, we also introduced a tuition credit for veterans — 10% off any course at GA — to make it easier for service men and women to explore new paths in their lives and careers once they return to civilian life.

In Rhode Island, we launched an initiative for un- or underemployed Rhode Islanders to pursue careers as web developers.

Through a partnership with TechHire Rhode Island (powered by Opportunity@Work), several of the most innovative companies in Rhode Island, and the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training, General Assembly is proud to support tech sector growth and launch its flagship Web Development Immersive training in RI. This initiative is aimed to help Rhode Islanders who are unemployed or underemployed acquire the skills they need to pursue careers as web developers. Through grants and support we received from our partners — including the University of Rhode Island, who is hosting the course — we were able to welcome 21 students into the program on full scholarships.

General Assembly secured two Department of Labor grants totaling $9 million to train adults with barriers to education and employment to pursue tech careers.

As part of the White House’s TechHire initiative, the Department of Labor awarded 39 grants totaling $150 million to support innovative ways to get workers on the fastest paths to well-paying jobs in the tech sector. General Assembly was thrilled to be a part of two of these grants, both of which are designed to empower young adults with barriers to education and employment to pursue careers in tech.

In collaboration with Per Scholas and Jobs for the Future , General Assembly has helped to launch CodeBridge. Working with LaGuardia Community College and a coalition of employers and training providers, General Assembly is also empowering New Yorkers through TechIMPACT. Both programs will enable hundreds of low-income New Yorkers to access General Assembly’s programs tuition-free, and receive holistic training, career preparation, and supportive services through our partnership with our sister organizations.

GA picked up some exciting awards and honors.

  • GA was honored as a finalist in MIT’s Inclusive Innovation Competition, for our efforts like our Opportunity Fund scholarship that help creating a more inclusive workforce.
  • We landed at No. 81 on Deloitte’s Technology Fast 500 list.
  • Our CEO and co-founder Jake Schwartz earned individual recognition too, as recipient of the 2016 Joseph Wharton Young Leadership Award.
  • GA’s Washington, D.C., team was named Tech Mission Org of the Year at Technical.ly’s D.C. Innovation Awards.

Leave a Reply