Here is what's next, updates on progress made with the Five Actions in the Diversity Pledge, and shared learning events that have occurred.
We have big plans for 2016. Here is just a sampling of what's in store.
Actions are more powerful than words. It is necessary that we do more than just talk about the need for a more diverse tech sector. We believe collective action and accountability are required to address the underrepresentation of women and people of color in our industry. Throughout this next year we will focus on defining success metrics as well as the implementation of programs. Annually, we will release a report outlining our progress. You can also check back here as we update our progress and share our accomplishments.
This effort will not be successful if it is led entirely by the tech community and our initial partners. In order to create meaningful change, we need to work together with the many groups who can help. If you are interested in working together to address this dynamic, we want to hear from you.
What's Being Done:
PDC awards technology training grants to diversify Portland's tech workforce. Four organizations will split $100,000 to conduct outreach and training to racial and ethnic populations underrepresented in the technology industry. Check back here every six months as we provide updates on the progress of this effort.
This summer we will begin working on a plan to collectively connect with community groups, populations, and people we want to be a greater part of the tech industry. We'll begin executing on the plan before the end of 2016. Individual companies have engaged in efforts.; here are a couple examples.
Check back as we showcase more of our efforts to partner with workforce and community-based organizations.
We need more people working in technology. Developing a larger pool of workers from groups underrepresented in the tech community will provide us with the talent we need to grow, introduce us to more robust perspectives and diverse ideas, and help our community achieve more widely-shared prosperity.
What's Being Done: Some companies are already partnering with organizations that support youth employment opportunities. Others are working closely with code schools and technical training providers to employ graduates as interns and in entry level positions. Strategies are being developed to ensure that hiring can result from employee recruitment efforts to reach populations underrepresented in Portland tech.
A number of pledge companies and others in Portland Tech are taking advantage of the SummerWorks Program. SummerWorks will provide candidate screening, upfront training and be the employer of record. One pledge company utilized the program for an intern on its Operations team last year and is increasing that number to six this year. To see if it would be a good fit for you contact Reese Lord with Worksystems Inc.
More than 1,000 studies in the past 10 years alone have conclusively shown that if you’re human, you have bias. The question isn't "do we have bias", but rather, "what is ours"? Academic studies and best practices showcase this point. Additionally, startup tech companies are using big data to show more ways to combat this issue.
What's Being Done: A significant amount of our focus has been on educating employees within the pledge companies and Portland Tech in general of this important issue. We have five half-day sessions available to all employees within all pledge companies to raise their level of awareness on this topic. Also, a number of the larger pledge companies have put in place their own training programs internally.
We've also worked together to identify and empower Change Agents within the organizations. A big portion of these sessions has focused on addressing issues keeping a workplace or it's culture from being inclusive.
In addition to developing a diverse pipeline and broadening the scope of who we hire, ensuring employment success is equally important. We are committed to providing career development programs that are easily accessible to employees from underrepresented populations. Providing development opportunities will increase the performance, satisfaction and retention rates of our workforce.
What's Being Done: Check back as we showcase some of our efforts here. We're expecting to put efforts in place in 2017.
Our progress will be deliberate and incremental, but we are committed to creating a welcoming and diverse workplace. We will be accountable by collectively releasing the demographic representation of our companies.
There are good examples of tech companies across the US are doing this individually. See how Google does it. Check out this infographic put together by the Wall Street Journal.
What's Being Done: Portland Tech Diversity participant companies come in all forms, small to large, public and private. Given the variety we are taking steps to ensure that participant companies can collect data in an accurate, safe and efficient way that is easily repeatable. The survey is in the field and results should be released by August 2016.
This past September, Portland tech learned more about inclusion efforts within the industry. Participants learned best practices, made new contacts, and were connected with diverse talent. Participating companies include Metal Toad, New Relic, Puppet Labs and Simple (along with 6 people from our startup community).
PDC hosted a lunch and learn with nationally recognized inclusive competitiveness expert Jonathan Holifield. Holifield shared his findings and helped the team generate ideas on where and how to focus inclusion efforts. Check back for a summary of his recommendations in the coming weeks.