A local pair of IT organizations is hoping that an offer for paid training with guaranteed employment is an enticing entry into the tech industry.
Carolina Fintech Hub (CFH), and Charlotte’s Black innovation and tech hub, BLKTECHCLT, have announced a year-long partnership for CFH’s Workforce Investment Network (WIN program). Their sights are set on recruiting minorities and women aspiring to jumpstart a career in the high-paying, fast-growing tech industry.
Why is this important?
Despite the hotbed of job growth in the IT sector, Black employment in tech has been disappointing, along with overall recruitment.
According to data from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Blacks made up 7 percent of the U.S. high-tech workforce. That’s 50 percent lower than Blacks in all other private sector jobs.
In comparison, Caucasians made up 68 percent of high-tech jobs, 5 percent higher than Caucasians in all other private sector jobs. Data compiled by Bloomberg News cites that, among eight of the largest U.S. tech companies, the portion of Black workers in technical jobs rose to 3.1 percent in 2017 from 2.5 percent in 2014.
How will this initiative work?
Rather, students will earn a $30,000-$35,000 prorated, annualized salary during their on-the-job training. Those who successfully complete the program will be rewarded with a full-time job at a participating community partner, such as Bank of America, Wells Fargo, BB&T, Ally, EY or AIG.
As the recruiting arm for the WIN program, BLKTECHCLT will help attract minorities and women with a strong interest in high-tech jobs. Fifty participants will be selected for the program’s inaugural group. A second group will be chosen in the fall.
Why does WIN matter to Charlotte?
Sherrell Dorsey, CEO and founder of BLKTECHCLT, said the initiative will seek to reach “underrepresented talent in our community.”
“Our core mission is to enable opportunities within the technology sector for people of color to get access in the growth and prosperity of our city,” she said. “The WIN program is a big, bold, and audacious commitment to the future of this city and we’re up for the challenge to help connect our members to the opportunity.”
Companies will keep their attraction to the Charlotte region if it can continue to develop the talent pool. However, Havard’s economic mobility study — which ranked Charlotte dead last out of 50 major metropolitan cities — shined a light on the lack of opportunities for homegrown talent.
Tariq Bokhari, executive director of Carolina Fintech Hub and a member of Charlotte City Council, said the WIN initiative aims to “make a positive impact in upward mobility across the southeast.”
“We strive to do our part in impacting the upward mobility challenges across our region by becoming national leaders in unlocking the potential of Fintech workforce opportunities,” he said. “The WIN program is the central vehicle to drive that mission forward.”
Want to learn more?
There will be two information sessions:
- Jan. 3: BLKTECH HQ, 1776 Statesville Ave., 6:30 p.m.
- Jan. 10: Plaza Midwood Library, 1623 Central Ave., 6:30 p.m.
Get additional details on the WIN program at carolinafintechhub.org/win.
Editor’s Note: Since the article was originally published, the first session date has changed to Jan. 3.
Kallan Louis is a writer and consultant for qcitymetro.com. He does a lot, but never feels like he’s doing enough. His life can be described as a Venn Diagram: News media, Black culture and sports. He’s always on TV, but rarely seen.