I’m extremely excited to announce, after over a year of hard work, the launch of TalentPath:
The problem is clear:
- Companies need to hire underrepresented people of color and women, at scale, but haven’t succeeded.
- Women, Black and Latinx folks are not getting jobs in tech at scale. If they’re able to fight through the massive barriers put in their way, they often get left behind because of the lack of inclusion at tech companies.
After a year of very hard work, we believe we’ve launched a scalable, sustainable solution.
The reason I started Treehouse was to empower people to change their lives by learning how to code, no matter their color or gender. But after eight years of hard work, I had to admit that simply making Treehouse affordable, or creating business solutions for companies of all sizes was not truly solving this for underrepresented people of color and women. It wasn’t working and I couldn’t understand why.
I decided to spend a large amount of my personal time going out and actively listening to Women, Black and Latinx folks to hear why tech companies (including Treehouse) were not hiring and retaining them. It was a humbling and eye-opening journey. Here’s what I learned:
- We needed to partner with community-based organizations who have the trust of the community. It simply won’t work for me, as a White Male (with a Computer Science degree) to walk into a group of Women or Black and Latinx folks and say “We want to hire you! Trust me, there’s a job for you!”. The community-based organization does have that trust though, and they can deliver the message so it can be heard: “There is a high-paying job for you if you’re able to put in the time and effort to learn. Tech companies need you. They are going to invest in you.”
- If you don’t see anyone like you in the tech industry, and no one around you is in the tech industry, it’s extremely unlikely that you’ll even know or believe you can get a job in tech.
- If someone is holding down a job to support their family, they don’t have time or money to go to an in-person bootcamp or college, in order to get the necessary skills to get a job in tech. They need an education solution that can be done in 1-2 hours a day, over a longer time period, so it can fit into their busy and demanding life.
- Many times, underrepresented people of color don’t have a laptop or broadband connection at home in order to learn online.
- Tech companies that require Computer Science degrees are locking out millions of amazing potential candidates.
- Once underrepresented people of color and women get a job in tech, they need support from folks in the industry that look like them. This is key for retaining folks for the long term.
- Companies need to be actively investing in creating an inclusive culture so that when Women, Black and Latinx folks come into the organization, they are included instead of being pushed out by the majority.
After I learned these important lessons, we set about creating a pilot program to directly address these issues.
- We partnered with the Boys & Girls Club in Portland to find amazing potential talent.
- We used our Techdegree as the online learning solution.
- We found employers like Nike and InVision who were excited about hiring Apprentices and supporting them.
- We wrote a detailed playbook for helping the companies successfully onboard and retain this new talent. It also includes Equity, Diversity and Inclusion training for the Mentors of the Apprentices.
I’m so excited to say that the program was a huge success. After testing this idea, we realized it could be plugged into any tech company that was willing to invest in creating new diverse talent, and supporting folks with an inclusive culture.
“At MailChimp, we’re focused on building a culture that’s accessible and welcoming for all, so when Treehouse approached us about TalentPath, we jumped at the opportunity to get involved. TalentPath allows us to invest in and empower underrepresented people of color and women to pursue careers in technology and give them a direct path from our community into our engineering organization.” Eric Muntz, VP of Engineering at MailChimp.
Amazing companies like MailChimp, InVision and Nike are already using TalentPath, with more to be announced soon. We’re using the system at Treehouse as well, and couldn’t be more excited!
“At InVision, we feel that the best teams are diverse teams, and that we have a responsibility to bring more under-represented groups into technical fields like software engineering. We’ve recently hired engineering apprentices through TalentPath, and I look forward to bring more on in the future. I feel confident that not only will we strengthen the team at InVision, we’ll also be making a difference.” Bjorn Freeman-Benson, VP Engineering, InVision
If you’re focusing on hiring and retaining underrepresented people of color and women in your engineering team, please head over to our TalentPath page and get in touch!