It’s no mystery that the tech industry’s predominantly white and Asian male workforce is in danger of alienating the increasingly diverse nation — and world — that forms its customer base. Less than a quarter of people employed in computer science- and engineering-related fields are women, and only 1 in 10 are minority women. African Americans make up less than 3% of all scientists and engineers, and Hispanics only 4%.
At the same time, startups and tech companies are witnessing a never-before-seen shortage of employable talent, and current estimates show that by 2020, traditional universities will only be producing enough qualified graduates to fill 30% of available tech-related jobs.
That’s why we created Opportunity Fund, a new program at General Assembly that provides scholarships, hands-on-training, and career opportunities to underrepresented groups around the world.
Since launching in April, Opportunity Fund has evolved into a passionate group of Benefactors and mission aligned nonprofits supporting a more diverse and inclusive tech industry:
With the continued support of our growing list of Benefactors, we’ve been able to award 21 fellowships in 2014, and expect even more in the coming year.
The overwhelming success of our pilot program in NYC, enabled us to expand Opportunity Fund to San Francisco and Los Angeles, and now includes scholarships for two Immersive courses, Web Development and User Experience Design. We’ve also increased our scope to include women and minorities anywhere in the world who want to use design to have a positive social impact.
Some of our first Fellows to graduate are already in new jobs and passing on their knowledge to the next generation of innovators in tech.
2014 was just the beginning for Opportunity Fund, and we still have a long way to go. We are encouraged by the initial support we have received and the impact we have been able to make in just a few short months, and hope that you’ll continue to follow our journey in 2015!