Technical.ly is a funding recipient of the PHL: Most Diverse Tech Hub initiative from the City of Philadelphia Department of Commerce. This article was independently reported and not reviewed by this partner before publication.
The first round came in late 2020, amid national calls for increased racial equity. The tech sector was identified as one that needed special attention. That year, the City invested $500,000 into four organizations: Coded by Kids, Campus Philly, Venture for America and Technically Media, Technical.ly’s parent company. In spring 2022, the City doubled down, investing in the same four organizations, though it didn’t specify exactly how much funding was dispersed.
Now, the City will be deploying $750,000 to six organizations to further the initiative’s goals.
Funding, round three
For its tech talent pipeline focus, three organizations are each receiving $100,000 to further their efforts to retain Black and brown Philly residents in higher education programs and expose folks to tech employment opportunities. Coded by Kids and Venture for America were selected again, while DiverseForce, a diversity-focused talent company founded by Sulaiman Rahman, is newly funded in this round.
“Alongside our citywide partners, Commerce will continue to fuel the inclusive growth of tech workforce’s skills and tech-based companies in Philadelphia,” Commerce Director Anne Nadol said in a statement. “That includes by matching Black and brown talent — especially Philadelphia public school students — to local tech companies for learning and imagining innovative possibilities that can enhance the future of our city and region.”
Two new organizations were given funding in this round: The Enterprise Center and Mom Your Business were each awarded $125,000 to invest in underrepresented startup founders through a pitch competition. The competition will bring capital to Black and brown-founded tech companies and will also provide mentorship, space and technical assistance to participating startups.
And for the continued management of the Philadelphia Tech Industry Partnership, which convenes more than 75 tech-enabled companies across the region for lessons sharing and cohort building, Technically Media was awarded $200,000.
Over the last few years, Technical.ly has also produced a reporting and workshop series under the initiative’s name. With the updated funding, Technical.ly will continue to serve as a convener, resource and platform to highlight the work being done by the six participating organizations.
In January, Technical.ly published an in-depth report on the findings and insights from its years participating in the MDTH initiative. We spoke with founders, hiring managers and tech employers to understand the current state of tech workforce diversity, what has been done in the past to address diversity issues, and what more can be done.
“Together, we are enhancing representation, increasing access and funding the brightest new voices in tech citywide,” said Tempest Carter, director of tech initiatives for the Office of Business Development and Workforce Solutions, in a statement. “The cohort also serves as an innovation lab, and workshop space where organizations can convene to discuss strategies for tech-related jobs of the near term and the future in Philadelphia.”
Workforce Solutions Grant funding
In other workforce development news, the Department of Commerce today announced a $1 million investment through the Workforce Solutions Grant, with a goal to “prepare and connect Philadelphians to living-wage career pathways” in the life sciences, tech and advanced manufacturing industries.
University City Science Center was awarded $200,000 to expand its Building an Understanding of Lab Basics (BULB) programming. Congreso de Latinos Unidos was awarded $200,000 to expand its Human Services Pathway Program and partnership with Peirce College.
Per Scholas Philadelphia was also selected for $500,000 in awards to provide free technical and professional skills training and job placements with its employer partners. Community College of Philadelphia was awarded $250,000 to address a workforce shortage in the cell and gene therapy sector, prepping students for positions as manufacturing associates and aseptic technicians.
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