Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

City of Philadelphia is re-upping its investments to diversify the tech talent pipeline

That mean hundreds of thousands more dollars are going to workforce development and related efforts, with a goal of bringing more Black and brown residents into the industry.

A scene from a Coded by Kids competition.

(Courtesy photo)

Full disclosure: Technically Media, Technical.ly's parent company, is receiving funding to manage the Philadelphia Tech Industry Partnership within the PHL: Most Diverse Tech Hub initiative.
In late 2020, amid calls for cities to better support diversity in their tech sectors, the City of Philadelphia launched the PHL: Most Diverse Tech Hub initiative. A year later, it’s doubling down on that commitment.

To recap: The three-part initiative first sought to boost tech skills for the future talent pipeline — specifically Black and brown Philadelphians looking to move into technology careers. An initial $500,000 went to four orgs, as announced in November 2020: Coded by KidsCampus PhillyVenture for America and Technically MediaTechnical.ly’s parent company.

Coded by Kids, Campus Philly and Venture for America were each given $100,000 to go toward work in retaining Black or brown residents in higher education and expose those students to tech employment opportunities. An additional $115,000 was awarded to Coded by Kids’ 1Philadelphia initiative to invest in underrepresented startup founders and offer leadership, sales and marketing, operations, biz dev, and investment and capital-raising mentorship. For its part, Technical.ly has worked to convene tech employers to ID talent needs via the Philadelphia Tech Industry Partnership, as well as produced a reporting series under the initiative’s name. Those case studies focused on strategies for boosting the K-12 pipeline, upskilling and workforce development, and hiring and retention.

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On Thursday, the City announced that it had made new investments and updates to the PHL: Most Diverse Tech Hub initiative. The same four organizations will get funding to further their work from the first round, though dollar amounts weren’t specified.

Campus Philly, Coded By Kids and Venture for America will continue their efforts focused on higher ed and tech career exposure. (In the initiative’s first year, for instance, Campus Philly launched the Tech Scholars program to fund internships for Black and brown college students.) Coded by Kids’ 1Philadelphia will continue to invest in underrepresented startup tech founders and provide expanded mentorship, the City said. And Technically Media will continue to manage the Philadelphia Tech Industry Partnership.

The City also announced Friday that it was re-upping its Workforce Solutions Grant program, with three organizations receiving a combined total of nearly $750,000 through its second year:

  • Drexel University’ Goodwin College of Professional Studies received $250,000 to continue its Manufacturing Career Accelerator Program which launched last year. MCAP builds on top of the 2017  Manufacturing Industry Bootcamp that was designed to create access to manufacturing careers for low-skilled adults in Philadelphia.
  • Urban League of Philadelphia received $230,000 to continue the Urban Tech 3.0 (UT3) program, which adapted the org’s TechWorks program to support strategic priorities around IT workforce diversification. The TechWorks program prepares folks with minimal IT experience for in-demand, higher paying tech jobs.
  • Philadelphia Energy Authority received $250,000 to develop and launch the new Green Retrofit Immersive Training Program, which has an 11-week hybrid training  with hands-on labs, a six-week internship rehabbing affordable housing units and placement into living-wage jobs with contractors performing green home retrofits.

“We’re continuing to collaborate with partners to ensure Philadelphians are prepared for the jobs not just of today, but for the future,” Mayor Jim Kenney said in a statement. “We remain committed to helping prepare Philadelphians for careers that can sustain families while bridging the gap between employers, workforce providers, and residents to foster a thriving, equitable workforce full of opportunity. Core to these efforts are the need to address the disproportionate impact of unemployment on residents of color.”

P.S. Note that Technical.ly’s annual Developers Conference is again free, thanks to Most Diverse Tech Hub support.

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