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Can a $10 million investment help Learners Guild solve the diversity issue in Tech?

“The companies in Silicon Valley think of themselves as meritocracies,” said Mitch Kapor, founder of Kapor Capital. But they’re “mirror-tocracies, where people tend to hire people who look like themselves.”  Nothing could be more true. The issue that has ravaged big technology companies is a lack of diversity and an all too sameness pipeline. Friends hire friends, and when an idea springs up to combat this mentality, generally push-back or empathy occur.

Learners Guild wants to change that by offering a pipeline that can transcend age old barriers. According to CNet, “Learners Guild was started by Shereef Bishay, who is known for his bootcamps to train engineers.”

“Last year, Learners Guild launched a program that provides an intensive 10-month software engineer training to people who can’t afford college. The students don’t have to pay back Learners Guild until they secure a job earning at least $50,000 a year. Students can also receive a living stipend of $1,500 per month while they’re in the program.”

The goal of the program is simple. Help individuals looking to enter the software and computer engineering market. This is a phenomenal idea and seems to be a targeting people who may not have had access to software opportunities as a kid. I’ve mentioned before how as a young kid growing up in Detroit, I didn’t know what software computer engineering was until my Junior year in college. While the popular of software has increased tremendously, there are still many people growing up who do not have access to it like most do.

The $10 million investment comes from Learn Capital, Obvious Ventures, Acumen and Kapor Capital, organizations committed to improving opportunities within a growing segment of America. Unlike most diversity organizations which seek to connect potential employees with tech companies, Learners Guild wants to train people for the future jobs in tech. I believe this is the right move and, if executed correctly, could be the framework for how to develop and expand tech opportunities to a growing group of the American population.


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