Summer internships during college are becoming increasingly valuable opportunities not only for hand-on experience, but also for the possibility of securing a post-graduation job offer. Across the board in practically every field, around 70% of employers offer their interns full-time jobs compared to about half or less just a decade ago.
These numbers hold true for tech companies with between 70 and 80 percent of new hires at big companies like Facebook, Google, and IBM coming through their internship programs (according to a study by Chegg).
These statistics, though astonishing on their own, raise causes for concern when considered in the context of the lack of diverse representation in the technology industry. The gap that needs to be filled is getting more people from underrepresented backgrounds access to these pivotal summer internships.
However, there lies another problem in the education system. Many underrepresented students are excluded from accessing these engineering internships because they are dropping out of university computer science programs or switching majors before their junior year.
One study shows that STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) is the only field where Black and Latina/o youth are significantly more likely than their White peers to switch and earn a degree in another field. Therefore, these students are missing out on internships that can help them stay engaged in their studies, make connections, garner references, and even possibly launch their tech careers.
Providing resources and support to underserved engineering students is how CodePath, a nonprofit organization, is working on filling the gap. CodePath is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit founded in 2017 that partners with colleges and major tech companies to prepare underserved computer science students for careers in tech. CodePath's programs address systemic issues at the core of tech's diversity crisis, bringing diverse, top talent with unique perspectives to leading engineering teams.
"There are plenty of talented underrepresented students who go without the proper support and resources that can help them along in their computer science journeys and open doors for high-income careers post-graduation," said Michael Ellison, CEO and founder of CodePath.
CodePath delivers research-backed, and intentionally executed programs such as SITE, The Summer Internship for Tech Excellence (SITE) Program, which focuses specifically on Black, Indigenous, Latinx students, in addition to students from low-income backgrounds, and students that are the first in their family to attend college.
The SITE Program is a 10-week paid pre-internship program designed to advance students' technical expertise through hands-on programming and weekly mentorship from volunteer expert software engineers and teams.
For the inaugural 2021 SITE program last year, CodePath partnered with edtech pioneers Course Hero and Workday, a leader in enterprise cloud applications for finance and human resources.
"Partnering with CodePath helps us create spaces for collaboration and learning that changes how tech talent is supported and how employers equitably recruit talented workers from diverse backgrounds," said Emmanuel Matthews, Group Technical Program Manager, Course Hero.
"We're proud to partner with CodePath and support its impressive work to advance the education and careers for underrepresented groups in tech," said Carin Taylor, chief diversity officer, Workday. "They bring fresh, new perspectives to our workplace, which in turn provides valuable impact to our business and how we operate."
Now in the program's second year, CodePath welcomed support from Schmidt Futures, which will bring a focus on social impact to the curriculum and encourage students to pursue world-changing ideas in their capstone projects.
The early intervention of the SITE program is key to CodePath's strategy of diversifying the tech pipeline-and it is working. While graduates of the inaugural SITE program are still interviewing, nearly 86% have already secured junior year paid internship opportunities.
SITE will take place from June 6 - August 12, 2022. It is available to students who will complete their sophomore semester in Spring 2022. To be eligible, students must be studying computer science (CS) or a closely related field (information systems, electrical engineering, data science, etc.) and have completed a CS 1-type class, such as Intro to Programming.ⓒ 2021 TECHTIMES.com All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.Tags: