Inspire Technology Participation | Diversity: issues in higher education
The first step to winning a game is to participate in it. The consequences of continued under-participation in technology careers by historically marginalized populations will lead to increased economic stratification and inequality. More opportunities for participation need to be developed and more people need to participate for collective economic empowerment at the community level to take place.
Now is the time to find innovative ways to get students of all ages off the sidelines and into the game. Too many people look sideways thinking they don’t have what it takes to to be able to go out into the field. Limiting beliefs can prevent some people from participating when they have the potential and ability to thrive.
There is a need to be exposed initially to the multitude of roles within the tech economy and then create pathways for interested students to delve deeper into their preferred area of interest. This will require both skilled people and dedicated resources to ensure some level of consistency and continuity.
It is important to note that not everyone has to be directly involved in software development. There are different ways to participate in technology-related programming, including robotics, games, graphic design, sales and marketing, among others. There are also transferable skills that may have been cultivated in other industries that can be used in the world of participation in the tech economy.
Getting people to start and participate at a certain level puts them in a position where they can build momentum and learn skills that can qualify them to play at a higher level. The capacity can be increased after the start of participation. There will undoubtedly be gaps in people’s ability to play initially, but if given fair facilities, instruction, and opportunities, their chances of competing in the tech market will likely increase. considerably.
Capacity-building activities can also be integrated into the extracurricular and extracurricular culture and processes of schools and communities, similar to sports such as basketball and soccer. In sports, the ability and performance of players are improved through training and practice. Skills are honed through camps, drills and competitions.
Additionally, there are individual schemes and ways people can work their craft outside of formal settings. These are all ways in which sports training methods can be transferred to technology. Apprenticeship programs, certificate programs and other training platforms can also be created or strengthened to provide unskilled or semi-skilled individuals with the additional training they need to be competitive in the workplace. technological.
Critical technology courses can also be incorporated into the core curriculum of school systems. The relevance of some existing mandatory classes is questionable at best. A “Flintstones” academic program is not optimal for a “Jetsons” world. Development opportunities that provide exposure, information, hands-on activities, and connectivity to other capacity-building infrastructure are starting points where people can identify their interests and accelerate down their chosen paths.
After the start of participation and capacity building, there must be intentional efforts to open the doors to technological employment and entrepreneurship. Exposure and opportunity without tangible benefits at the culmination of the process is not enough. Preparing people to walk through the doors of technological opportunity won’t help if the doors are locked. Knocking doors with qualified candidates is the first step to quashing the excuse of not finding enough “qualified” tech workers.
Economic development for most people means having access to better paying jobs, the window is open with technology for more individuals to do this and ultimately improve financial conditions for themselves, their families and their communities.
A step change in technology participation that is initiated and sustained would go a long way to producing the kind of economic transformation that can lift individuals and communities to higher levels of educational achievement, social mobility, and better life outcomes. health.
Dr. Marcus Bright is a social impact researcher and strategist.