NEW YORK, May 19, 2021 /PRNewswire/ —
- Given the economic impact from the pandemic on underrepresented women of color and job loss, it’s never been more urgent to help them find jobs that pay well above minimum wage;
- Citi Foundation joins NPower as a founding member of Command Shift, committed to prioritizing women of color for tech careers, alongside additional steering committee members Amazon Web Services, Comcast NBCUniversal, Guardian Life and World Wide Technology
- Command Shift aims to rewire the hiring practices of tech and tech-enabled companies to be more inclusive of low-income women of color from nontraditional backgrounds and without college degrees
- Timicka Anderson, Managing Director, Citi Commercial Banking and LaDavia Drane, Esq, Head of Global Inclusion, Diversity & Equity at Amazon Web Services will serve as co-chairs of this Coalition
- Burning Glass Technologies will serve as research partner to track tech job opportunities with the highest likelihood of positive results for both employers and women of color job seekers
- Funds from Coalition partners will support expansion of NPower’s free programs that train and upskill women of color for today’s in-demand tech positions across IT, cloud computing and cybersecurity
Today, NPower, a leading national nonprofit that moves people from poverty to the middle class through free tech skills training, mentorship and upskilling, announced Command Shift, Accelerating More Women of Color in Tech, a new coalition uniting several of the world’s largest corporations, nonprofits and community organizations to increase opportunities in the tech industry for women of color, especially those from underserved areas and nontraditional pathways.
NPower launched Command Shift to harness the energy of today’s social and racial justice movements to address a critical societal issue: Black and Latinx women are woefully underrepresented in tech and only account for 5% of related jobs overall. While this lack of inclusivity has been an issue facing the industry for decades, the COVID-19 pandemic further exacerbated the barriers that prevent women of color from entering and thriving in the tech industry and spotlighted the hardships women of color face in the job market overall, as 154K were forced to exit the workforce this past January.
Command Shift is the latest in NPower’s efforts centered around boosting economic prosperity and inclusion for women of color. In 2018, NPower and Citi Foundation launched 40 by 22 to increase enrollment of young women in NPower classes to 40% and increase the number of female instructors by 40 by 2022. Early successes from this program include NPower increasing the salaries of young women in its program by 3x the standard and their instructor pool is now 47% women of color.
A key strategy of Command Shift’s mission is to trigger a seismic shift in recruitment practices of women of color for tech jobs by expanding the focus on ‘traditional candidates’ – those with two- or four-year college degrees — to include women of color who are tech-trained and haven’t yet attended college. Citi Foundation joins Command Shift as a founding partner of the coalition alongside founding corporate members Amazon Web Services, Comcast NBCUniversal, Guardian Life, NETSCOUT, Vodafone Americas Foundation, Tata Consultancy Services and World Wide Technology. Founding nonprofits and other organizations include: IT Senior Management Forum (ITSMF), The Knowledge House, and National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT).
“NPower has been committed to advancing race and gender equity in the technology industry for a decade and based on our research and hands-on experience– if want to see tangible impact for underrepresented and non-traditional women of color in tech, we must spark a national movement that addresses the issue on several fronts: adequate and free tech training, fair and equitable hiring practices and a supportive workplace ecosystem so they can advance and thrive,” said Bertina Ceccarelli, CEO of NPower. “The lack of women of color in the technology industry and especially those without college degrees, is both a human rights issue and business imperative that requires the united efforts of corporate leaders, elected officials, and philanthropic organizations working alongside our Coalition to effect positive change.”
To elevate and support women of color, especially as the economy recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, Command Shift will provide direction and support for strategies that invest in and inspire the advancement of young women of color in tech careers by:
- Bringing together a driving force/dedicated alliance of business leaders, corporations, nonprofits, and community organizations to expand and sustain a national network of companies committed to hiring young women of color
- Advising our corporate partners on tactics to strengthen their hiring and retention practices, by building a practical toolkit with resources, data, and solutions for companies to advance the tech careers of underrepresented women.
- Investing in original research specifically identifying the percentage of women of color from non-traditional backgrounds that are in need of employment, and the amount of opportunity that exists in tech-enabled industries
- Motivating committed partners to help women of color in tech achieve pay equity and thrive in their careers by sparking action and dialogue through national convenings
- Expanding the reach of NPower’s core programming and free training, focused on certifications across IT and tech fundamentals, cybersecurity and cloud computing, to reach more women of color in need
Little to no data is currently being tracked for tech jobs held by women of color from non-traditional backgrounds. The Coalition will work with Burning Glass Technologies, a leading labor market analytics firm, to leverage their proprietary skills data and custom analyses to identify job opportunities with the highest likelihood of positive results for both employers and women of color job seekers. Together, we will use these new insights to develop informed goal for the coalition and create a method of regular tracking against that goal.
Command Shift’s Steering Committee, consisting of cross-sector, nationally recognized executives in tech and tech-adjacent industries, will drive interest and measurable actions in developing, hiring, and retaining young women of color in tech. These members include:
- Timicka Anderson, Managing Director, Citi Commercial Banking
- Lisa Asari, Senior Product Manager, Global Education to Workforce Solutions Lead, Amazon Web Services
- A. Nicole Campbell CEO, Build Up Advisory Group
- LaDavia Drane, Esq., Director and Head of Global Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity, Amazon Web Services
- Wendy Dowd, Chief Talent and Experience Officer, Guardian Life Insurance
- PaShon Mann, VP, Talent Acquisition, Comcast NBCUniversal
- Ann Marr, Vice President, Global Human Resources, World Wide Technology
- Viola Maxwell Thompson, CEO, IT Senior Management Forum
“Citi and the Citi Foundation have a long-standing commitment to the idea that all people, no matter their background or zip code, should have equal access to jobs and the economic opportunity and security that comes with them. The Citi Foundation is thrilled to deepen their partnership with NPower, including helping to lead Command Shift during such a critical time in our society,” said Timicka Anderson, Managing Director, Citi Commercial Banking. “With Command Shift, the Citi Foundation’s goal is to elevate more young women of color with the skills and confidence they need to not only enter tech careers, but to thrive and grow as leaders.”
Additionally, NPower recently commemorated the 2nd annual Women of Color in Tech Day in New York City alongside Congresswoman Yvette Clarke, who designated March 2021 as “Eddie Bernice Johnson Black Women in Science and Technology Month” in response to NPower’s commitment. NPower also worked alongside local policymakers in Newark, NJ and San Jose, CA to declare March 12th Women of Color in Tech Day in those regions as well to promote the importance of respect, dignity, fairness and equity in supporting Black and Latina women as they pursue tech careers on a national scale.
“Here at Amazon Web Services, we believe that in order to innovate for a global market, we must foster a culture of inclusion and build a dynamic workforce that reflects the broad diversity of our communities and customers around the world,” said LaDavia Drane, Director and Head of Global Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity at Amazon Web Services. “Our support of Command Shift underscores our deep commitment to increasing access and opportunity for underrepresented groups across the technology sector.”
NPower envisions a future where the U.S. technology workforce is diverse and clear pathways exist for all people regardless of ethnicity, gender, or socio-economic background to succeed in the digital economy. Over the past 10 years NPower has served 5,400 young adults, women and military veterans—placing them in quality jobs in 7 regions across the United States – NY, NJ, MD, MI, MO, TX, and CA. Students who enter their free, six-month program, earn industry-recognized certifications and graduate with the competencies of an IT professional.
To learn more about Command Shift, visit www.commandshift.org
NPower is a national nonprofit, rooted in community, that is committed to advancing race and gender equity in the tech industry. Through skills training, real world experience, support and mentorship, NPower graduates launch burgeoning careers and a pathway to financial freedom for themselves and their families. Students who enter their free, six-month program, earn industry-recognized certifications and graduate with the competencies of an IT professional with one to two years of experience. Eighty-one percent of NPower graduates get a full-time job or continue their education. Not only is NPower changing life trajectories for individuals from vulnerable communities but they are also strengthening the overall competitiveness of U.S. businesses hamstrung by today’s limited pool of IT talent. To learn more about NPower, visit http://www.npower.org.