Shortly after Google’s recent announcement of their crusade to make the tech industry and their own company more “colorful” through the education and recruitment of more tech employees of color [and women], Facebook is now following suit.
Facebook believes the root of the issue lies in the fact that there is unequal access to the skills and training that make a career in tech a tangible opportunity. To address this, they are partnering with #YesWeCode, a non-profit with the goal to teach coding to 100,000 youth from low-opportunity [often minority/impoverished] backgrounds.
The first stage in this new alliance is the creation of a search tool that allows users to look up local programs already offering free or low cost lessons in coding. Currently, there are only 70 organizations nationwide that can be found with this tool, but the hope is many more will join after #YesWeCode announced this initiative in New Orleans at EssenceFest.
Controversy surrounds programs like this, where critics believe there already is an abundance of women and minorities trained in these fields who are simply being overlooked by employers in favor of their white male counterparts. While this in all actuality may partially be true, I think these underrepresented groups can only do their part in changing the situation through education and perseverance. Sometimes, you must work twice as hard to get half the recognition and by doing so, open the door for the next generation, who will be even more prepared and skilled to meet the challenge head on and succeed.