The Iron Yard, Code Fellows and Operation HOPE announced on Friday that together they’re launching the Tech Opportunity Fund, an attempt to increase diversity in tech by offering more diversity scholarships.
Code schools, like The Iron Yard, Code Fellows, General Assembly and more are, undoubtedly, already helping to increase access to technical training and jobs. A bootcamp with any of these schools is considerably more financially accessible than, say, a four-year computer science degree. Still, $13,000 or $14,000 for three months of immersive training, during which the student may not be able to hold down a job, is too high a price for many.
This is where need-based diversity scholarships come in. General Assembly has its own such scholarship program called, similarly, the Opportunity Fund.
Now, students at The Iron Yard or Code Fellows have a corresponding option. The Tech Opportunity Fund aims to a total of $100 million in diversity scholarships over the next five years. To get to this number, The Iron Yard has pledged $40 million in full-tuition scholarships and Code Fellows has pledged $5 million in full-tuition scholarships. To make up the difference, “the Tech Opportunity Fund is calling on employers, code schools and civic organizations across the country to join the Fund by providing funding for scholarships and contributing resources that will support for scholarship recipients.”
Operation HOPE, the program’s third founding partner, will participate by offering scholarship recipients access to financial literacy and entrepreneurship trainings. With this partnership, and others, the Tech Opportunity Fund aims to go beyond simply offering financial support to students — the cost of a coding bootcamp may not be the only reason more (and more diverse) students don’t apply. The program aims to create partnerships with city governments and other civic organizations to help students with things like affordable housing, transportation, counseling and more.
So what does this mean for Iron Yard students in D.C.? Students in the District will be eligible for Tech Opportunity Fund scholarships when applications for the program open in January 2017. Learn more about the fund here.-30-