The Iron Yard, the largest immersive code school in the U.S., has launched the Tech Opportunity Fund in partnership with Code Fellows and Operation HOPE. The fund will increase diversity in the tech industry by removing financial barriers and award $100 million in diversity scholarships to in-need students from underrepresented groups in the tech workforce including women and minorities. The fund was mentioned in a speech by Vice President Joe Biden in St. Louis.
“To maximize the potential of the tech industry, we must maximize the potential of a diverse tech workforce,” said Peter Barth, CEO of The Iron Yard. “The Tech Opportunity Fund builds off of the momentum generated by innovative initiatives like TechHire to ensure Americans of all backgrounds have access to tech training programs that can open the door to a career in tech. There is a true need in the industry for an organization to unite the many groups that are working toward this goal and by coordinating our efforts, we can truly change the industry for the better.”
The Iron Yard has committed $40 million in full-tuition scholarships to the school’s immersive programs over the next five years, Code Fellows has committed $5 million in full-tuition scholarships, and Operation HOPE will serve as the Fund’s financial literacy and entrepreneur training partner. To reach the goal of awarding $100 million in scholarships, the Tech Opportunity Fund is calling on employers, code schools and civic organizations across the country to join the Fund by providing funding for scholarships and contributing resources that will support for scholarship recipients.
Scholarships will be available on all of The Iron Yard and Code Fellows’ campuses including The Iron Yard in Charleston, SC.
“As Charleston continues to attract a wide variety of tech companies, it is important that the workforce reflects our city’s diverse population. The Tech Opportunity Fund opens the doors for women and minorities to get the education and training they need to quickly enter the tech world and be a part of Charleston’s tech future,” said Betsy Hare, Campus Director at The Iron Yard Charleston.
In addition to providing full-tuition scholarships to code school programs, the Tech Opportunity Fund will work to remove other barriers that can prevent people from pursuing a code school education. Partnerships with city-level government bodies and civic organizations will assist scholarship recipients by addressing needs such as affordable housing, financial literacy, counseling and transportation as needed. The initiative will also include core financial literacy education and entrepreneurship training through programming partner Operation HOPE.
“Access to opportunity is the hallmark of an inclusive global economy, and access to digital opportunity and jobs in the digital space is the door to the future,” said John Hope Bryant, Operation HOPE Founder, Chairman and CEO. “This extraordinary collaborative will help develop life skills in deserving students, many, in underserved communities throughout the nation—creating a generation of tech leaders and job creators to power us forward.”
Applications for Tech Opportunity Fund scholarships will open by January 2017. To receive a scholarship, applicants will need to first be accepted into a participating code school through that program’s standard admissions process. After their acceptance, students will apply for a Tech Opportunity Fund scholarship through the website, www.techopportunityfund.org. Scholarships will be awarded to qualified students on a first come, first served basis.