- Facebook has tapped Ironhack, a Miami-based coding school, as its partner for this year’s F8 Scholarship. Ironhack announced the partnership during Facebook’s 2019 F8 conference last month.
- With funding from Facebook, Ironhack will launch a $250,000 scholarship program — called the Digital Creators Fund — for women and other underrepresented groups in the tech industry, Ironhack said in a press release emailed to HR Dive. Ironhack said it plans to give 50 full or partial scholarships to candidates interested in web development, data analytics and user experience design, hoping to lessen the financial burden on candidates who want training in these disciplines.
- "We all know the tech industry has a diversity problem and that it's not an easy one to fix," said Ironhack Co-founder Ariel Quinones in a statement. "We know that while opportunity is unevenly distributed, talent is not. Through these scholarships, many Ironhack students of diverse backgrounds will be able to take their first step towards a rewarding career in the tech industry."
Many employers and talent professionals are still working to figure out how to take diversity and inclusion from a hiring quota to a full-blown cultural change that gives workplace power and representation to people of color, women, older workers, workers with disabilities, gender non-conforming workers, neurodivergent workers and other marginalized individuals. Within tech organizations, specifically, representation hasn’t reached parity and the culture can still be uninviting for many. At Facebook in 2018, for example, women comprised about one-fifth of tech roles and African Americans made up only 4% of staff. At other tech companies, employees say the culture and policies can silence workers, as Google workers alleged about the company’s approach to sexual harassment complaints.
Tech employers banking on the benefits of diversity use training programs and career development initiatives to provide openings for more diverse workers to learn the hard skills or to prompt them to envision a future for themselves in STEM fields. Skilled trade industries use learning partnerships and upskilling initiatives to create their own talent pipelines — and in tech it’s no different. The Ironhack scholarship fund allows Facebook — which has come under fire recently for its alleged lack of inclusivity — to publicly demonstrate a commitment to D&I and create a pipeline of diverse recruits with the needed skills.
In tech, gaining skills knowledge without incurring the cost can remove one barrier for diverse candidates. However, tech employers are less likely to retain skilled, diverse workers if the work environment doesn’t support their needs or amplify their voices.