In Episode 16 of the Charity Charge Show, Stephen Garten chats with Matt Stephenson, the Co-founder of Code2College.
Central Texas is facing a crisis. Despite its regional reputation for innovation, the nearly 5,000 technology companies with offices in the Austin area and several world-class research institutions, there remains a shortage of skilled, local talent to fill a wide variety of technical roles. Companies continue to source technical talent from outside of Texas and abroad, and as the explosive (and consistent) growth of the area would indicate, the pace is far from slowing down.
What’s worse, there is a huge population of students in Central Texas who remain underserved. Facing a talent surplus and opportunity deficit, many girls, students of color and low-income students lack two of the most critical factors to entering pathways into STEM careers: exposure and practical experience. Students who haven’t met a data scientist, don’t have an anesthesiologist in the family, nor heard of the investment banking industry, are unlikely to pursue these or other technical fields. And those who do will find themselves behind the curve once matched against their affluent and/or well-resourced counterparts.
Herein lies an opportunity to develop a pipeline of diverse, local technical talent for the region. Code2College is a multi-year, career prep and college access program that leverages local volunteer technical talent to teach coding and web development skills to traditionally underrepresented students in order to push them to and through college, and into STEM careers.