Facebook just announced a new initiative called TechPrep. The goal of the site is to prepare young people of color for careers in technology.
Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, wrote in a Facebook post that TechPrep “shows parents and students what programming is, why it’s important, and what sort of jobs are available for those who can code. It guides people to resources to get started— everything from classes to college prep.”
The site already has several videos about understanding programming and testimonies from people of color on how they got their start in computer coding and advice for others who would like to follow the same career path.
Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook, and author of the best-seller, Lean In, which urges women to empower themselves in the workplace, wrote a post about the importance of TechPrep:
Learning to code opens up amazing opportunities in an industry that’s only getting more important. Yet research shows 77% of parents don’t know how to help their child get started in computer science. And without enough visible role models to inspire them, many women and people of color feel that tech isn’t open to them.
By the year 2020, it’s estimated there will be over a million programming jobs available. The Congressional Black Caucus has made getting people of color trained to fill these positions an imperative—and has held many discussions and pushed for legislation and training to diversify the tech industry.
Zuckerberg posted on why TechPrep was important to him:
Through research with McKinsey, we found that there are very few resources in particular for Black or Hispanic learners, and we wanted to change this. We’ve also put together resources for parents and guardians so they can provide young people with advice and support.
The social media titan has been on a socially-conscious bent as of late. Last week, he posted about the inequalities in the U.S. prison system and the impact on the African American community. He sums up his feelings about social injustices in his post:
Improving diversity in the tech industry is an important challenge, and something we’re deeply committed to at Facebook. Everyone should be able to take advantage of the opportunities created by the internet. Giving everyone the opportunity to learn to code will create even more valuable tools to serve society.