Closing the equity gap in technology

Computer science is one of the fastest growing career fields in the United States. According to US Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in computer and information technology fields is expected to grow 13% from 2020 to 2030, faster than the average for all occupations. In addition, computer science students can earn 40% more than the average college graduate, paving the way to financial stability.

Unfortunately, the number of open IT-related jobs nationwide far exceeds the number of IT graduates. Currently, there are approximately 500,000 job offers in IT across all industries and states, and these jobs are expected to overtake other jobs twice as fast.

Research shows that providing children with access to computers at an early age paves the way for socio-economic mobility for those who have not had access to these opportunities. In particular, black and Hispanic students taking computer science courses before college are seven to eight times more likely to specialize in IT, demonstrating the importance of – and the impetus behind – expanding access.

Reaching students, especially in historically underserved student populations, is what inspired Capital One to create the Capital One Coders Program in 2014. In addition to teaching coding skills to more than 22,000 students (90% low-to-moderate income and 78% underrepresented minorities) at more than 150 partners, including schools and non-profit organizations nonprofit in 13 communities in the US, UK and Canada, the program’s impact extends far beyond a computer.

“At the heart of Capital One Coders, we are driven by a desire to bridge the equity gap in technology through creative and fun programming,” said Emmanuel Offiong, Vice President, CTO Small Business Bank at Capital One. “We look forward to continuing to evolve our work so that all students, regardless of geography or background, can succeed in a digital economy.”

Democratizing Access to Opportunities in Delaware

One of the many schools affected by the program is Thurgood Marshall Elementary School, a diverse community institution in Newark, Delaware, a small town in metro Wilmington.

The school — named for the civil rights activist and first black associate justice of the United States Supreme Court — ran two cohorts of Capital One Coders for its students, more than 75% of whom identify as black, American d of Asian, Hispanic or Latino origin.

“The Capital One Coders program gives our students the essential skills and knowledge to be creative using technology,” said Alvin Pope, vice-principal at Thurgood Marshall Elementary. “It’s a stepping stone to prepare them to pursue careers in the field and raise the level of representation of women and minorities in the tech market.”

At Thurgood Marshall Elementary School, Capital One Coders is offered as an after-school enrichment opportunity for students to learn coding and other in-demand skills.

“This partnership has enriched our students’ technical skills, strengthened our community, and sparked interest in technology careers,” said Liles Puleo, teacher at Thurgood Marshall. “Capital One has been so easy to work with, flexible with our needs, and generous with their time and talents. The biggest difference between this program and others is that there is no cost to our students.

The Coders program is part of the larger Capital One Impact initiative, an initial $200 million, multi-year commitment that strives to advance socio-economic mobility. The Capital One Impact initiative aims to create a world where everyone has an equal chance to prosper by advocating for an inclusive society, building thriving communities and creating financial tools that enrich lives.

“All of our students have benefited from the program, but the students who impress me the most are the ones who got the emotional benefits,” Puleo explained. “The improved confidence of some students has allowed them to improve their overall academic performance. The camaraderie that has been formed through this program has created a sense of community for a few students who found it difficult to fit in in other places, [and] it provided social time that students really lacked in the distance learning environment. It was great for me to see so many students have the opportunity to pursue their passions.

The Coders program connects Capital One technologists with students, and together they explore mobile app development, web design, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, and other emerging technologies through engaging mentorship and practice. To date, Capital One employees have contributed more than 140,000 volunteer hours to this program.

For its part, the team at Thurgood Marshall Elementary School said it has already begun talks with administrators to bring coders to high schools in the Christina School District, which serves more than 14,000 students in Newark and its suburbs. surrounding.

“The structure of Capital One’s teams and the way they work with our students is a big reason for the program’s success,” Pope said. “It goes way beyond teaching skills and results in building relationships. The students respond very well to the mentoring approach used by the instructors. »

This series of articles is sponsored by Capital One and produced by the TriplePundit editorial team.

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