Cracking the Code: The Secret to Boosting Latino Technology Workforce

By Bill Britt
The Latino Policy Connection

tech latinos 2There are more than 79-thousand computing jobs available in California right now, and just over 5-thousand computer science graduates in this state. Do the math, even if you’re not good at it. There’s a ton of technology jobs out there and it’s almost like no one’s going after them.

At least one person thinks our students are actually ignoring those jobs because they have the wrong idea of what it takes to be “good at it.”

liliI want school board members and superintendents to understand one thing. Not all computer industry jobs are math intensive and complicated. In fact, some of them are the most rewarding jobs out there because they involve lots of creativity.

Liliana Monge – Sabio.LA

Liliana Monge is talking mainly about coding; the act of writing a specific language that tells software exactly what you want it to do. If you can code, you can create the next app that teaches people how to play guitar, talk to political candidates, or help provide meals for hungry families.

In fact, those three apps are real; created by students and job seekers who learned to code thanks to Sabio.LA, a learning and training program co-founded by Monge and her husband. “We wanted to make a concerted effort to get more women and people of color into coding.”

latino tech 1An intensive, immersive experience modeled after a program called the Developer Boot Camp, SabioLA does a lot more than train people to code. “We help them prepare for interviews, we connect them with recruiters, we review their resumes and we get them jobs in the technology workforce.”  And, long after they’re employed, SabioLA offers to help students gain professional development skills and find opportunities for leadership.

Next month, local elected officials attending the Summer 2015 Latino Policy Forum, “21st Century Cities and Schools, will hear a lot more about effective ways of using technology to help face a variety of challenges in education and municipal settings. Monge will be there for a workshop on getting more Latinos into the technology workforce pipeline. She’s hoping administrators will realize that coding is one of the most attractive ways to accomplish that.

“After all, we’re giving people the skills to create new opportunities that actually mean something to them.”



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