ATLANTA, GA – April 24th, 2015 – Opportunity Hub, the nation’s largest diverse and inclusive entrepreneurship school and coworking space, and The Iron Yard, the nation’s largest code school, are partnering to create Opportunity Code & Cofounders College (O.C3). Their first act is to provide $60,000 in scholarships to increase diversity in tech and tech enabled industries, particularly for men and women of color from underrepresented communities. The allocation includes two full scholarships ($24,000), two partial scholarships ($12,000) and eight quarter scholarships ($24,000).
Access to opportunity, particularly within the technology ecosystem, isn’t always created equal. According to a 2014 USA Today article by Jessica Guynn and Elizabeth Weise, the technology industry’s predominantly white and Asian male workforce is in danger of losing touch with the diverse nation – and world – that forms its customer base. Recently released numbers from some of the largest and most powerful companies confirm what many had suspected: Blacks and Hispanics are largely absent, and women are underrepresented in Silicon Valley – from giant companies to startup-ups to venture capital firms.
Code.org predicts that there will be one million (1,000,000) more computing jobs than computing science students by 2020. O.C3 was created to address this talent deficiency head on.
“Realizing that the widening racial wealth and income gap may exclude some of our nation’s brightest talent from participating in the thriving tech economy, we reached out to the Iron Yard to create the partnership and combined curriculum,” says Rodney Sampson, Founder & CEO, Opportunity Hub, “The Iron Yard immediately stepped up to partner and provide the initial partial scholarships which will help to close the gap of students who might not be able to afford the cost of a reputable code school education.”
The Iron Yard teaches intensive, immersive 12-week courses that mentor students into professional junior-level programmers. The program goes far beyond tactical skills and teaches students how to think like software engineers. The Iron Yard has a phenomenal success rate in its career support program, helping students find all types of work in the tech industry.
Upon or during initial job placement, Opportunity Hub will teach students the ins and outs of the innovation, entrepreneurship and investment ecosystem via a 6-month weekly pre-accelerator curriculum that takes students on a navigated journey from ideation to market. The curriculum teaches entrepreneurial mindsets, ideation, customer discovery, business model generation, business planning, entrepreneurial fundamentals, access to capital and pitching.
“Programming is a lifelong study, and our process shows students how to learn so they’ll remain highly valuable for the rest of their career – whether they are working for a company or starting their own. To this end, the Iron Yard is excited to partner with Opportunity to make learning to code accessible for all, particularly underrepresented communities,” says Peter Barth, CEO, The Iron Yard.
During this year’s SXSW, Sampson and Barth announced the scholarship initiative at OHUB’s Innovator’s Dinner sponsored by The District of Columbia’s Washington DC Economic Partnership. An expansion to DC is in the works.
“This initiative creates high tech software engineering jobs immediately; and develops the technical co-founding talent required to have a diverse and inclusive technology and/or technology-enabled startup ecosystem. It goes well beyond the premise of exposing minorities to STEM. This is modern day economic and community development in action,” concludes Sampson.
About Opportunity Hub (OHUB)
Opportunity Hub (OHUB) is a multi-campus coworking space, entrepreneurship school, pre-accelerator, incubator and vetted seal of authentic diversity and inclusion in the startup ecosystem and capital markets and beyond.
Currently headquartered in Atlanta, GA, OHUB’s definitive mission is to create and develop a diverse and inclusive highly skilled, competitive and innovative talent pool that will ideate, launch, start and scale high growth companies. Our mission is accomplished via intense selection, ongoing education, access to authentic mentorship, innovative practices, essential resources, meaningful connections and smart capital – in sectors such as technology, consumer products, supply chain innovation and social impact.
Created with the early stage and startup company in mind, OHUB is for anyone that is serious about working in an environment of like-minded entrepreneurs and committed to learning, implementing and sharing the knowledge, best practices and relationships formed while in our ecosystem.
About Iron Yard
The Iron Yard exists to create exceptional value for people and their ideas through code education, startup accelerators and coworking spaces. Their mission is to find people who want to pursue their craft and life-long adventure of technology, teach them the tools of the trade, and then release them into the world with the drive and capability to make a difference. They believe that passionate, talented people who love what they do will create great families, jobs, companies and solutions to the world’s problems.