CodePath, Course Hero, Schmidt Futures, and Workday Partner to Close Tech Equity Gap

Gaby M. Rojas

CodePath, a national nonprofit working to diversify the nation’s tech industry in the next 10 years, announced it is partnering with tech leaders Course Hero and Workday, with the support of Schmidt Futures, to host a 10-week, paid pre-internship program to prepare rising college juniors for careers in tech.

“There are plenty of talented underrepresented students who go without the proper support and resources that can help them along in their computer science journeys and open doors for high-income careers post-graduation,” says Michael Ellison, CEO and founder of CodePath. “We remain committed to expanding access to underrepresented students and recognize the potential that employers can have in providing these opportunities earlier on, which will help create a more robust diverse talent pipeline in tech.”

The Summer Internship for Tech Excellence (SITE) program addresses a key barrier to underrepresented students’ presence in technology—early access to coveted internships at tech companies.

SITE is a 10-week, hands-on program that gives rising juniors relevant work experience and weekly mentorship from various volunteer software engineering teams. Students will be introduced to full-stack web development, gaining an understanding of databases, back-end code, front-end code, testing, design, and deployments. This program will help build the foundational knowledge and skills students will need as they continue to pursue a career in tech.

CodePath designs and delivers research-backed, and intentionally executed programs such as SITE, which focuses specifically on Black, Indigenous, Latinx students, in addition to students from low-income backgrounds, and students that are the first in their family to attend college. These programs address systemic issues at the core of tech’s diversity crisis, bringing diverse, top talent with unique perspectives to leading engineering teams.

For most employers, 75 percent of their entry-level technology hires come from internship programs, which are usually offered to rising college seniors. However, research has shown that underrepresented students in computer science drop out or switch majors before their junior year. These students are missing out on internships they need to stay engaged in their studies, make connections, garner references, and launch their tech careers.

SITE uniquely provides these internships earlier than most other corporate programs, therefore offering underrepresented minorities access to coveted internships, as well as real-world experience that will keep them dedicated to completing their computer science degree. By the end of the program, students will have the skills to build and deploy their own web applications, setting them up for success when applying for junior year internships.

For the inaugural 2021 SITE program, CodePath partnered with edtech pioneer Course Hero, and Workday, a leader in enterprise cloud applications for finance and human resources. While graduates of the inaugural SITE program are still interviewing, nearly 86% have already secured junior year paid internship opportunities.

“Our work is centered around helping students graduate confident and prepared,” says Emmanuel Matthews, group technical program manager, Course Hero. “Partnering with CodePath helps us create spaces for collaboration and learning that changes how tech talent is supported and how employers equitably recruit talented workers from diverse backgrounds.”

“We’re proud to partner with CodePath and support its impressive work to advance the education and careers for underrepresented groups in tech,” says Carin Taylor, chief diversity officer, Workday. “At Workday, we believe that diversity fuels innovation and creates a broader connection to the world, and we’ve seen firsthand how CodePath interns further support that. They bring fresh, new perspectives to our workplace, which in turn provides valuable impact to our business and how we operate.”

Now in the program’s second year, CodePath welcomed support from Schmidt Futures, which will bring a focus on social impact to the curriculum and encourage students to pursue world-changing ideas in their capstone projects.

“We’re excited to support Michael Ellison as an Innovation Fellow,” says Kumar Garg, vice president, Partnerships at Schmidt Futures. “Under his leadership, CodePath is creating a more diverse talent pipeline in tech, and providing students with new avenues to learn about how they can apply their skills to tackle important problems.”

SITE will take place from June 6 – August 12, 2022. It is available to students who will complete their sophomore semester in Spring 2022. To be eligible, students must be studying CS or a closely related field (information systems, electrical engineering, data science, etc.) and have completed a CS 1-type class, such as Intro to Programming.

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