By Amy Jones
This post was originally published on The Switch
You likely already know that people of color are underrepresented in the tech workforce. But it may surprise you to realize just how deep the gulf is. According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, nationally, white people make up 68 percent of the tech workforce — more than twice that of all other ethnicities combined.
Those of Asian descent make up 14 percent of the tech workforce, Hispanic/Latinx people make up 8 percent, and Black people make up 7 percent. Those who identify as being mixed race and those who identify themselves as other make up the final 2 percent. Taking this into account, you can see why it’s pointless to just leave seats open at the table and assume POC will find their way into the room. Tech workforce development programs must actively engage POC, amplify their voices and do the hard work to ensure that tech is a safe space for all.
At Innovate Birmingham, we do this by specifically recruiting POC. The majority of our participants come from Jefferson County, which is 43.5 percent Black and 4.1 percent Hispanic/Latinx. That percentage dovetails with Innovate Birmingham’s demographics. More than half of our participants identify as POC, and 76 percent are from low-income backgrounds. This is especially essential when you consider that we are training for entry-level jobs in tech, which serve as a springboard to better-paying opportunities that will help jump-start a cycle of generational economic prosperity here in the Magic City.
There are several great organizations that are dedicated to diversity, equity and inclusion in Birmingham’s tech scene. TechBirmingham is making waves, as are the Birmingham Black Techies. This focus on diversity and representation within our tech workforce will only make Birmingham stronger. Birmingham is powerfully diverse; our tech scene should represent our city. The more that we are able to share different viewpoints and learn from each other, the better off we will all be.
After all, code doesn’t care. Data doesn’t discriminate. We shouldn’t either.
To help support Innovate Birmingham’s mission of helping Alabama meet its tech talent needs, take a moment and donate today by clicking here!
Magic City Match is a program that transforms lives and opens doors for Black entrepreneurs and business owners. Led by REV Birmingham and powered by Prosper, this initiative aims to create opportunities for Black-owned businesses by matching them with brick-and-mortar spaces where they can thrive. After a successful pilot program in 2022, Magic City Match is back in action and ready to empower a new wave of entrepreneurs.
One of the most legendary and storied neighborhoods of Birmingham is Woodlawn. It is a community, anchored by one of the great public high schools of Birmingham, that has produced many citizens who contributed to the life of our city and has had an impact beyond the neighborhood itself. In a short post like this true justice cannot be done to the rich heritage and legacy of Woodlawn. However, we hope that this narrative brings together many of the diverse threads that make up the fabric of the community’s historic arc in a concise piece.
Woof, woof! I’ve been having an absolute blast visiting my sister in Downtown Birmingham. I can hardly wait to share all the details with you once you return from your vacation. In the meantime, I wanted to put paw to paper and tell you all about it, with the hope of convincing you that moving Downtown could be the most wonderful decision ever.