(photo by Stephen Babcock)
The fifth stop on the nationwide Tech Jobs Tour was in Baltimore on Tuesday night.
At Betamore, job seekers turned out to talk to reps from Baltimore startups like Terbium Labs, Fearless and Rendia, and got some advice via speed mentoring and talk to community leaders.
“Our main focus is how do we connect our nontraditional, diverse talent to open jobs across this country. There’s this misnomer…that there’s all this demand for tech talent, but supposedly there’s no supply of skilled workers. We beg to differ in the sense that we have to start looking outside of our biased networks,” said Mitali Chakraborty, who is one of the organizers of the tour. It’s backed by national groups TechUp and TechHire.
Even though it’s national, the goal is to tap the local community.
“In every city, we try to work with leaders in the community to make sure the room represents the makeup of the population in that city,” she said.
— Khalilah M. Harris (@Ed2BeFree) June 21, 2017
That was on display in Baltimore. Getting at the goal of a more diverse workforce involves connections with places that are training outside of the four-year degree system. As the cross-country tour format suggests, geography also plays a role.
Sarah Lee recently finished a UX course at General Assembly in D.C., and lives in Glen Burnie. In Betamore, she recognized a place that fostered a tech community. She saw the event as a place where she may be able to find work with a startup that’s closer to home.
“I don’t want to travel all the way to D.C. all of the time to find a job,” she said.
Sheri Pendleton is taking a front-end development course at Betamore that finishes in August. She took the course to learn more about how to run her blog, but is now looking for a job, as well.
“The tech industry is booming, the pay is very lucrative, so why not go tech?” she said.
Mahariel Rosario participated in YearUp, which helps 18-24 year-olds get ready to enter the workforce. He came looking to network. Visiting Betamore for the first time, he met companies he hadn’t heard about before.
“Just getting to know the environment is key,” he said.
Then former President Obama’s U.S. CTO Megan Smith showed up.
— Tech Jobs Tour (@TechJobsTour) June 21, 2017
Before doing some mentoring herself, Smith talked about how changing the makeup of the tech workforce will also change what problems are solved.
“One of the greatest ways to diversify tech is to techify everything,” she said.