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Four people sitting on a SXSW panel on diversity

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Since 2002, America has lost 28 million low tech jobs. These are workers who can benefit from retraining and many of whom will have the ability to launch successful careers in technology, if given the opportunity.

Four panelists speak on tech careers at SXSW 2018

But how can someone land a job in IT if they don’t know how to use a computer? How can you attend training if you can’t get to it?

These were the types of questions tackled by members of the “Reinventing Pathways to Tech Diversity” panel. Some of their thoughts on increasing access to tech and improving diversity in the field are below. Scroll to the bottom for panel members and their organizations.

Key observations from the panel

  • Step one is to figure out what are the supports those who need basic skills and then move into training programs, computer science and tech careers that will change the face of their communities.
  • Mentorship is critical to providing pathways to tech. In fact, 14 million women of color will leave a company due to lack of mentorship.
  • People are still really comfortable hiring people who “look like them” despite skills shortage. This both excludes undeserved populations and delivers inferior talent to companies.
  • Diversity isn’t just young people. There is so much untapped potential among those in their 40s and 50s. Skill retraining and life-long learning are becoming invaluable to mid-career workers to keep up with the pace of change.

Panel members and organizations

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