Service Year Alliance announced today the launch of Service+Tech, an initiative aimed at increasing diversity within the technology industry and equipping the next generation of civic and political leaders with entrepreneurial and technical skills.
Service+Tech was developed with the support of Schmidt Futures, a venture facility for public benefit founded by Eric and Wendy Schmidt. Cisco and SAP have also signed on as founding sponsors.
Through this program, service year participants will have the opportunity to develop essential technology skills, discover pathways into tech careers, and leverage technology to solve society’s most pressing challenges. As part of the new Service+Tech network, service year participants will have access to free, technology-focused resources and activities, including coding training opportunities, local civic tech hackathons, speaker series events, and tech career resources. The initiative’s goals are to increase the number of underrepresented groups in the technology sector and to equip the next generation of civic and political leaders with entrepreneurial and technical skills.
“We applaud Service+Tech for helping to expand society’s definition of who can be an entrepreneur and what today’s entrepreneurs are capable of achieving through the thoughtful application of technology,” said Jordan Blashek, Manager at Schmidt Futures.
Through a partnership with the Corporation for National & Community Service (CNCS), the federal agency that administers the national service program, Service+Tech is available for all currently serving AmeriCorps members and AmeriCorps Alums. The initiative's founding corps partners include AmeriCorps programs Teach For America, City Year, Reading & Math, Inc., Public Allies, and Citizen Schools, as well as the National Peace Corps Association. In total, over 66,000 currently serving service year members and over 1.3 million service year alumni will be eligible to participate.
“Digital inclusion is incredibly important to SAP. We prioritize education and workforce readiness partnerships that aim to include underserved and underrepresented people and communities in today’s digital world, which is why the new Service+Tech initiative is so critical,” said Alexandra van der Ploeg, global head of Corporate Social Responsibility, SAP.
“Coding, as a skill, is cropping up in jobs far beyond the world of tech. In fact roughly half of all jobs in the top income quartile, those paying $57,000 per year or more, are in occupations where significant numbers of postings have come to require coding skills. This is a natural extension of the hybridization of the American job market, with sophisticated technologies reshaping the skills needed to succeed in fields like business analysis, design, and marketing” said Matt Sigelman, CEO, Burning Glass Technologies.
According to Burning Glass programming jobs are growing the fastest amongst all jobs - 50% faster than the market overall. Service year members have high numbers of participants currently underrepresented in the technology sector. Most notably, 77% of service year members are women compared to 36% of the tech industry.
“We believe that expanding access to technology and entrepreneurship skills among diverse communities is the fastest path to promoting equity and shared prosperity,” said MacKenzie Moritz, Service Year Alliance Chief Partnerships Officer. “We’re excited to be connecting interested service year corps members and alums with the tech skills and networks they need to accelerate their impact and careers.”
"General Assembly is proud to be a partner on Service+Tech as part of our broader efforts to create more pathways into tech careers for members of underrepresented groups. We are also excited about the opportunity to participate in a broader effort to infuse the tech, data, and design sectors with leaders passionate about service and giving back," said Tom Ogletree, Senior Director, Social Impact & External Affairs at General Assembly.
The network’s speaker series kicks off in January with a panel of service year alums currently working at Google, Amazon, and Facebook. They will share their stories working in both service and tech careers, and provide advice for others interested in following their path. The series will continue on a biweekly basis with partners such as Code for America and LinkedIn sharing insights and opportunities to get engaged in the tech community. Participants will be exposed to tech training opportunities in a variety of formats, ranging from technology-focused boot camps to post-graduate level training. Partner organizations including Per Scholas, Make School, General Assembly, and Northeastern University’s Align Program will provide engagement opportunities and additional offerings.
Interested service year corps members and alumni can join the Service+Tech Network starting today at www.serviceplustech.org.
For additional information or to interview Jordan Blashek, Alexandra van der Ploeg or any of the other partners, please contact Thorsten Ruehlemann at 202-677-1863 or firstname.lastname@example.org.