The goal of our Luma Lab program is making technology approachable to people in communities underrepresented in the tech sector.
Our founder Aaron K. Saunders has passionately pushed for companies and organizations to be more proactive in their efforts to create a more diverse and inclusive tech sector; to look further than their closest connects and to invest money into programs like Luma Lab that are practicing a more robust approach to tech education.
Many organizations approach this problem with no intention of truly solving this issue but simply see support for coding education as a great feel-good initiative to get behind. This problem cannot be solved with a couple hackathons here and there or by simply talking about what would be nice. It takes a multifaceted approach that involves comprehensive strategies and plans of action by companies hiring for tech jobs and organizations training people to fill those positions.
Initiatives like CBC Tech 2020 are a great example of what we need to make significant strides in actually putting more people from underrepresented communities like African Americans, into an ever growing number of high paying tech jobs.
Photos from the May 2015 launch of the CBC’s Tech 2020 initiative (top left: members of CBC Tech 2020 task force. bottom left to right: Rep. G.K. Butterfield, Rep. Barabara Lee, Rev. Jesse Jackson)The Focus of CBC Tech 2020 and Our Work with the Initiative
The Congressional Black Caucus started the Tech 2020 initiative in May 2015 with the mission of assuring that many of the estimated 1.4 million (typically high-paying) tech jobs likely to be available by 2020 are filled by a largely untapped pool of African American talent.
To achieve this mission, the CBC has been reaching out to organizations and companies like Clearly Innovative to develop a more comprehensive approach.
Aaron speaking at the CBC Tech 2020 event “Cracking the Code: Getting a Job in Tech”
Aaron spoke on a recent panel around the issue of how African Americans can more effectively pursue and navigate careers in tech, where panelist provided insight on what skills are most in demand and the particular way African Americans have to network in order to get certain opportunities. The event also included a résumé review and additional tech career counseling from experienced professionals.
The CBC Tech 2020 initiative is focused on taking real actions to make a substantive impact on the fight for African American tech inclusion. This effort is driven by 4 key TECH principles:
Guiding principles of the Tech 2020 initiativeCBC Tech 2020 “African American Tech Talent: Ready, Willing, and Able”
In the spirit of taking real action to improve tech inclusion for African Americans, the CBC worked with 7 organizations and announced last Thursday the development of several African American Inclusion Plans reflecting the commitment of these organizations to proactively work toward increasing diversity in the tech industry.
For more information about the CBC Tech 2020 initiative including how your organization can develop an African American Inclusion Plan, click here.
Thank You CBC
This initiative is in the early stages and is off to a great start due to the amazing backing of a CBC task force lead by Congressman G.K. Butterfield (D-NC 1), Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA 13), and largely organized by Rep. Butterfield’s Chief of Staff Troy Claire.
In our discussions with this team behind the initiative, it’s abundantly clear that they are about generating tangible results and that any further discussion around the matter of African American tech inclusion must be joint with equal or greater action and strategy for change.