The online resource hub aims to accelerate tech industry adoption of racially and educationally equitable skill-based career pathways based on direct learnings from tech workers
OAKLAND, Calif., Nov. 15, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Today the Kapor Foundation, a leading organization focused on addressing racial inequity in the technology sector, released the Tech Apprenticeship Equity Toolkit: a one-stop resource that offers tech workers, companies, and policymakers actionable guidance on increasing racial and educational inclusion through the tech apprenticeship model.
The toolkit is co-designed with the national nonprofit Opportunity@Work, which aims to increase economic mobility for and alongside the 70+ million U.S. workers who are STARs – Skilled Through Alternative Routes rather than through bachelor's degrees – especially for the Black, Hispanic, and Indigenous STARs who have been underrepresented in tech.
Given the current market downturn of the tech sector, coupled with tech companies' public struggle to hire, retain, and advance workers of color, the apprenticeship toolkit is a much needed industry-led resource for tech companies and tech workers to implement new hiring approaches that move beyond corporate responsibility to become sustainably embedded in the core tech business model. As the Department of Labor plans to distribute historic $87.5 million in funding to scale inclusive apprenticeships in emerging, lucrative fields such as the tech sector, it will be critical that tech employers adapt apprenticeship models to address the perceived "worker shortage," and meet overall diversity, talent, and business goals.
Kapor Foundation's recent report on the state of diversity in the Black tech ecosystem demonstrates that progress towards an equitable ecosystem has been stalled, and in many respects is regressing. Between 2014 and 2021, there was only a 1% increase in Black representation in large tech companies.
When tech employers leverage skills-based apprenticeship to bake structured learning and development into the onboarding process, they not only have more control of building the talent they need, but also can improve diversity at scale via access to half the U.S. workforce, since 61% of Black workers and 55% of Hispanic workers are STARs.
"Since apprenticeship is relatively new to tech over the past several years," says Kirsten Lundgren, Director of Economic and Workforce Initiatives at the Kapor Center, "we felt that insights from our collaborations with the industry's most pioneering racial equity champions should be distilled and shared to pave the way for additional progress."
The toolkit offers direct learnings from seasoned tech workers and leaders who have ushered in equitable apprenticeship programs at their own companies. Instead of focusing on theory, it offers practical guidance based on an understanding of the tradeoffs tech companies need to consider to develop equitable standards in apprenticeships for core, high-paying roles, such as those in software engineering and product design.
The toolkit addresses six core practice areas impacting the apprentice experience, and through a comprehensive set of equity resources, explains how to maintain a focus on racial and educational inclusion and diversity in program implementation. Key components include:
Actionable prompts to help identify equity-oriented executive program sponsors,
Steps for eliminating exclusive, degree-based hiring practices, and
Templates for structuring inclusive technical interviews and curricula, among others.
"Apprenticeships are an invaluable pathway for STARs to access the high-wage jobs that tech offers," says Yscaira Jiminez, Opportunity@Work's Chief Innovation Officer. "We are proud of this great work and collaboration with the Kapor Center, and believe this toolkit will offer employers a playbook to diversify their workforce by tapping the STARs talent pool today, and will open up new opportunities for STARs to access the jobs of tomorrow."
To learn more about the Tech Apprenticeship Equity Toolkit, see here for the full available resources.
About the Kapor Foundation
The Kapor Foundation works at the intersection of racial justice and technology by removing barriers in order to make the technology ecosystem more diverse, inclusive, and impactful for communities of color. The Kapor Foundation is a recognized leader in the movement to transform the technology ecosystem by expanding access to computer science education, conducting research on disparities in the technology pipeline, supporting nonprofit organizations and initiatives, and investing in gap-closing startups and entrepreneurs. For more information on the Kapor Foundation and the Kapor family of organizations, SMASH and Kapor Capital, visit www.kaporcenter.org.
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About Opportunity at Work
Opportunity@Work is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization whose mission is to enable at least 1 million working adults in America to translate their learning into earning – generating a $20 billion boost in annual earnings. Opportunity@Work engages with corporate, philanthropic, and workforce partners to directly address the barriers that STARs face, recognize STARs talent and remove bachelor's degree screens. Learn more at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SOURCE Kapor Foundation