$100 Million #YesWeCode Fund to Improve Diversity in Tech; Applications Now Open for Code School Scholarships

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The #YesWeCode Fund, announced at the 2017 HBCU@SXSW Luncheon, will award scholarships for women and minorities with financial need to attend participating code school programs. Interested students can apply here: http://www.yeswecodefund.com

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The partners from the Tech Opportunity Fund and #YesWeCode, announced that applications for the newly renamed #YesWeCode Fund are now open. The announcement was made on Saturday at a luncheon panel hosted by Van Jones, Founder of Dream Corps and #YesWeCode, at the 2017 HBCU@SXSW. Additional panelists included Tess Posner, Managing Director of TechHire; Sam Kapila, Director of Academic Operations & Diversity at The Iron Yard; Derrick Morgan, Co-Founder of Huddle Ventures; Rodney Sampson, partner at TechSquare Labs; and John Hope Bryant, Founder, Chairman and CEO of Operation HOPE.

The #YesWeCode Fund, initially launched as the Tech Opportunity Fund in September 2016, is a collaboration between The Iron Yard, Code Fellows, Operation HOPE, Opportunity Ecosystem, Climb Credit, TechSquare Labs, We Can Code IT and #YesWeCode. By unifying the efforts of code schools, government, civic organizations and employers, the goal of the Fund is to increase diversity in the tech industry by removing financial barriers and increasing access to tech education. In addition to technical skills training, the initiative will include core financial literacy education and entrepreneurship training through Operation HOPE.

“The tech divide requires a collaborative effort to close the gap between the underrepresented who want a more promising future and the companies requiring a much-needed change in the makeup of the industry,” said Felix Flores, Jr., National Director of #YesWeCode. “The #YesWeCode Fund models how the fight for social justice and tech innovation can be a synergistic win for all. We’re honored to partner with The Iron Yard and TechSquare Labs to take our work to nearly 20 cities in the near future to help maintain the tech industry as the pioneers of innovative and positive change.”

#YesWeCode is a Dream Corps initiative that works with partners to help connect 100,000 underrepresented minorities to careers in technology. The program accelerates access to training in high-demand technical and non-technical skills to prepare untapped talent to enter the tech-fueled economy. #YesWeCode works to build a diverse pipeline of 'homegrown' tech talent to meet demand and boost local economies.

“SXSW represents the global innovation economy and to go live with a diversity and inclusion initiative of this magnitude during our HBCU@SXSW experience is epic,” said Rodney Sampson, a partner of the Fund and partner at Opportunity Ecosystem and TechSquare Labs. “What started as a conversation during a TechHire event in Atlanta between Peter Barth, CEO of The Iron Yard, Megan Smith, former Chief Technology Office of the U.S., and myself, is now a reality. Together, we will train and support thousands of new software engineers who otherwise might not have been able to pursue a career in tech.”

Over the next five years, the #YesWeCode Fund aims to award $100 million in diversity scholarships to women and minority students who are currently underrepresented in the tech workforce. The Iron Yard has committed $40 million in full-tuition scholarships to the school’s immersive programs, Code Fellows has committed $5 million in scholarships, We Can Code IT will offer $1 million in full-tuition scholarships, and Operation HOPE will serve as the Fund’s financial literacy and entrepreneur training partner. To reach the goal of awarding $100 million in scholarships, the Fund is calling for employers, code schools and civic organizations across the country to join the effort by providing funding for scholarships and contributing resources that will support scholarship recipients.

"Creating an inclusive tech workforce can only be achieved if all stakeholders in the tech sector are represented in the solution," said Peter Barth, CEO of The Iron Yard. "By uniting the efforts of employers, educators, government and civic organizations in the Fund, we can both inspire people who are currently underrepresented in the industry to choose tech as a career and empower them to pursue that goal through a full-tuition scholarship to attend a code school."

"Access to opportunity is the hallmark of an inclusive economy,” Bryant said. “This extraordinary collaborative will help develop life skills in deserving students, many, in underserved communities throughout the nation—creating a generation of tech leaders and job creators to power us forward.”

Applications for #YesWeCode Fund scholarships are now open. To receive a scholarship, applicants will need to first be accepted into a participating code school through that program’s standard admissions process. Students will then receive a link to apply for the scholarship from the participating program. Scholarships will be awarded to qualified students on a first come, first served basis.

For more information about the scholarship program, or to learn how your organization or code school can be involved in the #YesWeCode Fund, visit: http://www.yeswecodefund.com.

#YesWeCode Fund
The #YesWeCode Fund is a scholarship initiative designed to increase diversity in the tech industry by removing financial barriers and increasing access to quality tech education. By unifying the efforts of code schools, government bodies, civic organizations and employers across the country, the Fund aims to award $100 million in code school diversity scholarships over the next five years and help graduates of the program begin rewarding, lifelong careers in the technology industry. For more information, visit: http://www.yeswecodefund.com.

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Stacy Merrick
The Iron Yard LLC
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