Diversity & Inclusion
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A new scholarship fund for tech bootcamps in 2U’s university network promotes equity in tech

Through the fund, underrepresented communities in tech will receive a $2,500 for tech bootcamps at universities like George Washington University.

MacGregor (left) and the LawIQ team. (Photo by Amanda Washington)

This editorial article is a part of Racial Equity Month of Technical.ly's editorial calendar.

Lanham, Maryland-based 2U launched a $3 million dollar scholarship fund this month for underrepresented people of color and women looking to attend tech training bootcamps at universities in its network.

The edtech company is awarding scholarships of $2,500 to Black, Latinx and Indigenous learners, as well as women, that demonstrate both need and merit. More than 30 universities nationwide are partnering with 2U for this initiative, including nearby institutions George Washington University, Johns Hopkins University and the University of Richmond

“The scholarship of $2,500 reduces the cost a significant amount,” said Andrew Hermalyn, president of global partnerships at 2U, “which we hope will expand access to the program to more people whose livelihoods have been recently impacted by factors that may be related to COVID-19 or other hardships.”

2U acquired Trilogy Education last year to add skills-based bootcamps to its offerings. These scholarships can be applied at over 100 online bootcamps. That includes Johns Hopkins’ bootcamp, which launched last year through a partnership between the university and Trilogy.

Awardees can apply their scholarship to the array of bootcamps GW offers, which includes full-time and part-time in-person or virtual coding bootcamps that cover a full-stack of development concepts. Some of the coding languages include HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript, jQuery, Java, Bootstrap, Express.js, React.js, Node.js, MongoDB and MySQL. At the conclusion of the bootcamp, participants receive a professional certificate to validate their coding skills.

The rationale is the scholarship will increase access to bootcamps that offer skills training in subjects like coding, UX/UI and cybersecurity, and that graduates can then get hired in tech, combating a rise in unemployment that disproportionately affects Black people. This was evident in a federal jobs report from earlier this month, which saw overall unemployment decrease for the country as a whole but rise in the Black community.

“As the economic impact of the pandemic continues to unfold, millions of people have seen their livelihoods disappear overnight, with people of color and women disproportionately affected,” said 2U cofounder and CEO Christopher Paucek in a press release. “Our partners have always made supporting diverse learners central to their bootcamps, and these scholarships will put life-changing tech training within even closer reach at a time when people need it most.”

For more info and to apply for a scholarship with a participating university, explore trilogyed.com/students.

Tech giants like Microsoft and Google self-reported to Wired and there hasn’t been much of an increase over the years in representation for Blacks, Latinx, and Indigenous people among their workforces. The number of Black and Latinx technical employees rose by less than percentage point at both companies since 2014, when they started releasing diversity reports. This is despite initiatives like Google’s one-year residency for juniors at historically Black colleges, or the millions invested to introduce people from nontraditional backgrounds into tech.

“Our hope is that this scholarship helps more people from underrepresented communities enter the tech space,” said Hermalyn. “But we know education is only the first step towards increasing diversity and equality for these communities in the workplace.”

Donte Kirby is a 2020-2022 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of The Groundtruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. This position is supported by the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation.
Companies: George Washington University / 2U

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