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Tools for Building an Inclusive Tech Workforce

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Tools for Building an Inclusive Tech Workforce

This article first appeared on TechPoint’s Index

Diversity, equity, inclusion (DEI) is more than a trending hashtag. Collectively we are more aware of the social, education, and economic inequities that permeate our society in regards to people of color and unfortunately, no where is it more stark than in the tech sector. The good news is that companies are committing to moving the needle yet many do not know where to begin.

What are the steps needed to implement a solid, internal DEI process?

Look internally at your culture. Do your employees feel valued and mission-driven? The first step to take a good look at your team and request feedback on your culture. If your existing employees do not feel valued nor have clarity on the mission and purpose of your company, then you start there. A challenge for many companies during this pandemic has been to accurately express their culture in a virtual work environment. Expressing culture remotely is easy if it was already engrained.

You have a strong culture, now what?

When employees feel valued and an integral part of your team, they are driven to do more because you facilitate them to be more. How diverse is your existing team? Does your company honor the holidays that your employees celebrate? Is there cultural sensitivity and respect given to multi-cultural individuals? Taking a vested interest in a team members from a holistic perspective is important. If someone of color suspects that they need to assimilate instead of being mentored into a role, then you have some gaps in your culture.

What is your community engagement? This is another key factor with regard to culture. Do you encourage your team to volunteer and pursue their passions? If you do, then your team is more likely to be passionate about their job. Finding and removing barriers to entry is the responsibility of all of us in the tech space.

Where to find qualified candidates to expand a team?

Finding new team members with the right skills can be a challenge. It’s easy to buy new hires who have the skillset, but what about building a team instead of buying one? Through apprenticeships and strategic onboarding processes, it is possible to strengthen an inclusive team via growth by investing in new hires who possess the skillset to do the job.

Eleven Fifty Academy works with employers to make sure our curriculum is meeting the needs of the tech workforce. We could be considered an employment agency due to our strong Career Services division, who match our graduates with their ideal employment opportunities, even during a pandemic. Eleven Fifty is not only concerned with instructing the most relevant tech skills, we are focused on outcomes and placements of our graduates. Their success is our success.

There is a shortage of tech talent. Our corporate partners share consistent feedback that in addition to coding or cybersecurity skillsets, they want workers to be prepared for work-ready environments. We instruct the soft skills that our corporate partners are asking for. Graduates of our academy are ready to function as part of a team in an office environment. Our goal is to transform lives, and by working with our students to prepare them for engaging in a meaningful career is how we accomplish this. When it comes to tech workforce development, it’s about creating a well-rounded person, not just creating tech geeks. Teaching soft skills helps set up our students for success.

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