Are paid internships the solution to inclusivity in tech?

I’ve been increasingly aware of an inclusivity in tech problem. In 2017, I came across a non-profit in LA that was tackling a big, complicated part of the problem: career opportunities for young people of color in low-income communities. Their program met kids in middle and high school and taught them how to code. Alongside that, the kids learned the soft skills they’d need to be successful working in tech. The non-profit would make sure they had laptops and WiFi, make sure they showed up to class, and otherwise open the doors to a career in tech. Paid internships hadn’t yet crossed my mind.
A non-profit teaches kids to code and sparks their interest in computer science, which will eventually expose them to high-paying jobs. Sounds good, right?
The Problem
What I learned next gave me pause. Teaching the kids to code was working — not overnight, and not at the scale we need, but kids were successfully completing the program. However, the graduates were hitting the next layer in a dee…

Written By: James Marks

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