Here's How to Even the Playing Field in Tech
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE
Because diversity plays an important role in success.
By Renee Morad
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Businesses strive to create innovative products and applications, but none of that is possible without top-notch talent. As technology advances at the speed of light, the need for tech-savvy graduates grows just as fast.
JPMorgan Chase, for one, is responding to this need with Tech Connect, a multi-week program that kick starts recent college graduates’ careers in technology at the company. The program recruits students whose studies focused on non-technology areas, such as math and life sciences, and provides basic programming training, career development, mentoring and networking opportunities.
“Technology has always been a disruptor, and we’re seeing that happen at the fastest pace ever. We need to not only keep up with that pace, but be ahead of it,” said Lori Beer, Global Chief Information Officer. “We’re leveraging new channels to bring in diverse talent, with programs like Tech Connect that are dedicated to attracting the next generation of software engineers.”
Ali Marano, Head of Technology for Social Good, Diversity & Inclusion at JPMorgan Chase, also highlighted the important role diversity plays in innovation and how Tech Connect is helping bring more diversity of thought and perspective to the company. “Less than 20 percent of the people studying computer science today are women, and even fewer are Black and Hispanic. We knew that we had to do more if we really wanted to level the playing field of women, Blacks, and Hispanics.
We collectively acknowledge the gender gap in technology, and have an open dialogue about diversity of thought.
But the program does more than open doors; it also sets participants up with skills they can use throughout their careers. Kenyetta Jeter, a Technology Associate in JPMorgan Chase’s Commercial Banking division, applauds the program for having provided her with lifelong skills. It taught us “about the need to define ourselves broadly, embrace constant change and build meaningful relationships in the workplace,” she says. Tech Connect also equipped Jeter and her colleagues with a valuable network of dedicated mentors, which made them feel more engaged in the firm. Additionally, it opened the floodgates for discussions about righting the gender imbalance in tech. Together, Jeter says, they “collectively acknowledge the gender gap in technology, and have an open dialogue about diversity of thought.”
In its fourth year, Tech Connect’s 2018 class will be comprised of 60 participants from Argentina, the United Kingdom and the United States. Upon completion of Tech Connect, participants transition into Technology Analyst Program (TAP) as software engineers.
This story has been updated since it was first published on April 20, 2017.
- Renee Morad, OZY Author Contact Renee Morad