CODE2040: ADDRESSING THE LACK OF DIVERSITY IN TECH

CODE2040 CHALLENGES STRUCTURAL INEQUALITIES IN THE WORK FORCE BY CONNECTING BLACK AND LATINX STUDENTS WITH TECH COMPANIES

What Big Bet are they making?

Code2040 works to ensure proportional representation of Black and Latinx innovators in the STEM workforce by 2040, the start of a decade when people of color will be the majority people in the United States. Code2040 runs three direct service programs: I) The Fellows Program connects students with companies during summer internships to learn how to improve diversity and inclusion among entry level candidates. II) The Technical Applicant Prep (TAP) Program goes a step deeper to help prepare interested university students for a career in tech through various programs, including two-day retreats, and study trips. III) The Residency Program supports and connects entrepreneurs with the resources they need to advance their own start-ups. Code2040 also offers training for companies on the business
case for diversity and how to navigate bias in the workplace. communities and apply a training and data
ethos to transition the cultures of the companies with whom they engage.

What challenge is the Big Bet solving?

Code2040 is addressing the lack of diversity in the tech industry. According to Code2040, Blacks and
Latinx earn nearly 18% of computer science bachelor’s degrees, they only account for ~5% of tech jobs.
As tech is one of the fastest growing and highest paying industries, this has implications for the racial
income gap. Code2040 has experienced that many jobs are sourced through friends and family, thus
the lack of diversity in tech will only reinforce these structural inequalities in the workforce. Code2040
seeks to provide the networks, opportunities, and practical experience to overcome this structural
inequality, and ultimately aim to reframe the narrative around diversity in tech.

How is the Big Bet innovative?

Code2040’s approach to diversity is innovative in that it builds concrete connections between students
and companies through access, community, and code switch skills building. Code2040 also uses feedback loops to increase awareness of problems associated with the lack of diversity. For example, Code2040 collects data from company visits, where one round showed that while 70% of students were interested in working for a company pre-visit, this fell to only 20% after the visit due to the company’s uninviting atmosphere. In response, Code2040 encourages companies to undergo robust training and systems revamping alongside working with their students, in order to build a more inclusive workplace.

What is the current situation?

Since 2012, Code2040 has placed a total of 140 Fellows with 140 additional students participating in their Fellows Program in 2016 alone. Their offices in San Francisco currently count 30 employees. To carry out their programs, Code2040 has an extensive range of partnerships with various companies, co-working spaces, entrepreneurship centers and startup communities. Code2040 is exploring options for growing their Fellows program, as well as improving their entrepreneurial residency program, which is still in the pilot phase. The flagship program, Fellows, covered all direct program costs through earned revenue as well as a significant portion of overall operating costs.