New one-stop site bridges knowledge gap on tech career options and local training opportunities
OAKLAND, CA–November 29, 2016– Urban Strategies Council, a leading organization alleviating East Bay poverty via data-driven research, policy innovation, and advocacy, is introducing techPathways in partnership with Raiz Labs, Digital Strategies, the East Bay Broadband Consortium, and the East Bay Economic Development Alliance. The new website, techPathways.org, which launches on November 29, aims to bridge the knowledge gap among youth and underserved populations on tech career options and local training opportunities through an easy to use interface.
TechPathways provides a framework that demystifies tech careers as diverse as engineering, visual design, and digital marketing, especially for young people lacking regular, practical exposure to STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) education. “We have simplified the latest professional requirements of Bay Area companies to help youth relate their strengths to available jobs, and understand the skills they need to succeed,” says Steve Spiker Director of Research and Technology at Urban Strategies Council.
The site also enables users to compare over sixty East Bay training programs where they can build skills for success, ranging from after-school programs to boot camps. The data was compiled through an opt-in survey of leading Bay Area organizations providing training for three age groups: children, teens, and young adults. The site facilitates skill exposure for all ages, but most importantly at the critical juncture before high school graduation and as early as middle school. Many of the listed training opportunities are free of charge or offer significant financial aid and scholarship opportunities.
Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf has stated that East Bay is an area where tech can act as a bridge to reducing inequity, as opposed to the role it plays in San Francisco and Silicon Valley. She has supported new initiatives in Oakland like the Tech Equity Collaborative and OpenOakland, programs specifically aimed at transparency and efforts that support building a tech workforce that reflects the diversity of the local population. As the city’s Director of Equity and Strategic Partnerships, Jose Corona, explained, “it’s partners like Urban Strategies Council we support in launching initiatives such as techPathways that actively build a more equitable future for local youth.”
The web resource launches at a pivotal moment of East Bay tech sector job growth as large, publicly-traded, tech and financial companies expand their current operations, and small startups seek more affordable rental rates outside San Francisco and Silicon Valley. The East Bay tech sector currently employs nearly 61,000 workers in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties, with the creation of 26,000 new jobs expected by 2022.
Despite high demand for skilled tech workers, tech companies report difficulties recruiting qualified candidates for openings, particularly from minority backgrounds. In Oakland, 13.5% of tech workers are African American or Latino, though these groups comprise 55% of the city’s population. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate for young adults of color ages 20-24 remains 22% for Alameda County and 17% for Contra Costa County; well above the average for their white counterparts and averages for the Bay Area as a whole.
The techPathways website was in soft launch phase this summer and is now live. For more information or for companies and partners looking to get involved visit techPathways.org or call 510-893-2404.
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About Urban Strategies Council
Founded in 1987, Urban Strategies Council has focused on improving outcomes for children and families in Oakland and the East Bay for more than 28 years. The mission of Urban Strategies Council is to eliminate persistent poverty in the Bay Area by working with partners to transform low-income neighborhoods into vibrant, healthy communities. We leverage research, policy, innovation, collaboration, and advocacy to achieve equity and social justice.
About Raiz Labs
Raizlabs is an award winning mobile design and development company with national experts in Boston and San Francisco. Its vision is to improve lives through design and technology. Raizlabs has built over 100 apps across industries and platforms with a focus on award-winning iPhone, iPad, and Android products.
About East Bay Broadband Consortium
The East Bay Broadband Consortium (EBBC) is an East Bay regional initiative organized to improve broadband deployment, access, and adoption in Alameda, Contra Costa and Solano counties through a collaborative regional approach.
About Digital Strategies: Digital Strategies is an Oakland-based consulting firm that advises social enterprises on digital solutions. Their expertise is in marketing, analytics and app development, as well as tech ed curriculum development.
About East Bay EDA
The East Bay Economic Development Alliance (EBEDA) is the regional voice and resource for strengthening the economy, building the workforce, and enhancing the quality of life in the East Bay.