Blacks In Tech Needed For Paid Cohort Program

Rob Taylor Jr.

– Messaging Staff Writer

The tech field, which a decade ago was overwhelmingly white, is becoming more diverse.

But only at a snail’s pace.

According to US Census Bureau estimates and the US Equal Economic Opportunity Commission’s 2019 Diversity in Tech report, African Americans now make up 7% of all tech employees. Years ago it was even less.

But in Pittsburgh, there are African Americans in tech who are trying to get more of their people through the hard-to-break doors.

Lindsay Powell is the latest.

Powell, a 2019 New Pittsburgh Courier “Fab 40” member, is the new director of strategy/workforce development for InnovatePGH, an Oakland-based nonprofit that strives to integrate assets research-oriented academics, high-growth companies, and technology talent in the Pittsburgh area. and creative start-ups in economic growth strategies.

With help from Jewish Family and Community Services, Powell created the Innovation District Skills Alliance, which aims to create career paths for African Americans and other ethnicities. Powell is urging community members ages 18 and older to apply now for the program’s first cohort, a paid three-week position as an animal care technician at the University of Pittsburgh. Laboratory care technicians are instrumental in the work of helping Pitt researchers develop the medicine to help society solve some of the world’s biggest medical diseases, including cancer.

Powell said it’s a perfect way for more African Americans to get involved in Pittsburgh’s tech scene because the stipend paid to cohort members can be as high as $600. Cohort participants also receive transportation allowances and a laptop that the participant can keep.

“As the tech economy and the innovation economy (in Pittsburgh) grows,” Powell told the Courier on July 15, “we can make sure it’s more inclusive.”

Powell said that after the first cohort concludes, further cohorts and job opportunities will be announced in August and September.

“Technology continues to be a booming field,” Powell said. “Obviously Mayor (Ed) Gainey has been doing everything he can to try to make it more inclusive, and there are programs in Pittsburgh that exist and are growing to make sure black people have a place in the economy. innovation.”

Ryan H. Bowman