The tech industry has a serious diversity problem. In addition to well-documented pipeline problems, there exists a lack of good jobs with opportunity for advancement based on actual skill and capabilities.
Bridge Foundry today announced the official launch of its Industry Partner Program. Tech companies want to do better, but lack effective techniques. Bridge Foundry has a track record of increasing diversity in tech communities and we see an opportunity to address issues directly at the source.
Our sponsors fund the research to isolate specific techniques that are most effective for both non-profit and corporate settings. This research will be critical to accelerate the work, yet we also need real-world data to focus our research on the most urgent needs.
In our workshops we see inclusivity and a gathering of many to accomplish a goal: to share technical knowledge. From our workshops, we have unique visibility into what seems to work. We would like to share our findings widely; however, we know that well-intentioned programs can still be ineffective, have negative effects, or generate backlash. So first, we must learn why our workshops and processes are working as well as they have been.
We started our technical training workshops for underserved groups in 2009. Since then, we - collectively with our volunteers - have created processes and products around what we have learned. This includes training materials for our volunteers. We found it is critical that our volunteers, who are mostly working software developers, learn how to effectively handle situations where other volunteers or students may act inappropriately (yet usually mean well).
Our new curriculum seems to be working, people self-report that our workshops are safe spaces to collaborate and learn. Our sponsors will help fund the research that will allow us to publish new inclusion curriculum as open source materials.