Prioritization Upgrade: Expanding Diversity in Our Technology Ecosystem Now

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Created on June 9, 2015
 

This post originally appeared on the White House Blog

We are excited to be out in California today to roll up our sleeves and participate in the “Diversity in Tech” workshop, hosted by the White House and the Kapor Center for Social Impact. We are here to brainstorm and strategize with innovators from throughout the technology ecosystem to learn about what's worked for employers to recruit, retain, and advance top talent from under-represented communities, and for venture capitalists to fund and advise the full range of early start-up teams. We will hear about what’s working already that could be scaled now, as well as understand where challenges need pilot exploration work and urgent innovation.

According to the Kapor Center, of all workers in the U.S. tech sector, only 7% are Latino, 6% are African-American, and only 15% come from the AAPI community. And women occupy only 28% of STEM jobs in the American workplace. According to surveys, 87% of U.S. venture capital-backed business founders are white, 12% are Asian, and less than 1% are African American. Less than 3% of companies that receive venture capital funding have a woman CEO. As a nation, we are leaving top talent on the sidelines, and that is a mistake for American businesses in a globally competitive economy.  

“If you always do what you always did, you will always get what you always got.”

— Albert Einstein

That’s why this Administration set the goal of increasing the number of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) college graduates by 1 million over 10 years. If our schools are working to train the talent, our businesses need to be ready to attract, retain, and promote our most promising stars. Earlier this year we launched TechHire with over 21 cities working to support entry into their local tech sector through innovative training and employer partnerships in months not years. Tech jobs pay 50% more than the average American salary and we have over 500,000 open across the U.S. — we need all of our talent to consider these exciting roles to fuel our economy. We hosted an inclusive White House Tech Meetup in April. And later this summer, the White House will host Demo Day focused on inclusive entrepreneurship working to increase funding for all Americans with innovative start-up ideas.

We are in Silicon Valley today because we know that when companies in our technology ecosystem focus on a goal, no industry is better at engineering innovative solutions that have the chance to ignite change throughout our economy. 

We are looking forward to today’s work, and we’ll share key highlights of what folks come up with!

If you’re an employer or manager already working to recruit, retain, and advance talent from underrepresented communities, an entrepreneur including diversity as part of your strategic advantages as you build your new team, a founder yourself from an underrepresented group, a funder engaging exceptional talent that often gets sidelined because of unconscious bias or anyone with creative insights and working policies-programs-practices in this area, tweet us [@vj44 #TechTalent] to share what’s worked for you — so we can include your ideas in the conversation — and others can replicate and expand on your innovative practices.