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Facebook has announced an initiative called TechPrep, an online computer science and programming resource hub. TechPrep is aimed at underrepresented people and their parents and guardians so that they can learn more about computer science and programming and find resources.
There is no doubt the tech industry is not transformed, there is still a race, class and gender in the work force in most companies. Facebook has been doing its bit to turn the situation around, both inside and in the industry as a whole. Though its employer numbers, in terms of race, class and gender, are still dismally unequal, the company is addressing the issue.
“After looking closely at the data, we realized that one challenge is a lack of exposure to computer science and careers in technology, as well as a lack of resources for parents, guardians, and others who want to learn more. In the US, this lack of access is prevalent in a number of underrepresented groups including Black and Hispanic communities” wrote Maxine Williams, Global Director of Diversity at Facebook.
The project will pull together hundreds of resources that will include games, books, in person opportunities and community events. The resources will be curated based on who the users are and what they need, taking into consideration issues such as age range, skill level and what kind of resource people are looking for. The project will be available in English and Spanish.
The initiative, Facebook notes, is a result of its own understanding about diversity and a research by Mckinsey on the participation of underrepresented minorities in programming careers.
The research reported that 50% of Blacks and 42% of Hispanics said they would be good at working with computers, compared to 35% of Whites and 35% of Asians. This however is prohibited by a number of factors and one of them is computer illiterate parents. A staggering 77% of parents said they do not know how to help their child pursue computer science. This percentage increases to approximately 83% for lower income and non-college graduate parents or guardians.
The other findings from the research are that men are five times more likely than women to say that they “know a lot about computer programming.”
To lure minorities into the initiative, TechPrep will profile real people from minority groups that are pursuing different careers in computer science. The research also found that there is lower awareness of computer science in Blacks and Hispanics communities and this is caused by that the kids do not have access to both people in CS and CS programs.