This article was co-authored by 2U's Chief Strategy & Engagement Officer David Sutphen and Senior Vice President of Career Services Jennifer Henry
The research is clear: diverse teams help drive innovation, improve organizational performance, and advance business growth. Yet despite these clear benefits, Black representation in the tech industry remains strikingly low. Black professionals make up just 7 percent of the U.S. high-tech workforce.
As one of the world’s leading edtech companies, we believe 2U can play a constructive role in helping solve this societal challenge. Earlier this year, we announced our $3 million boot camp Scholarship Fund designed to help increase diversity in the tech sector, and to date, over 600 students have received $2,500 scholarships. And today, we’re taking another step—in partnership with Norfolk State University, one of the nation’s leading Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), and Netflix—to help increase Black representation in the tech sector.
This morning Norfolk State, Netflix, and 2U announced a new partnership to launch the Netflix Virtual HBCU Boot Camps—three fully-funded, online boot camps for current students and recent alumni of the university. All students who are accepted are eligible to receive a full scholarship, paid for by Netflix, covering the cost of their attendance in the program. For over one hundred years, HBCUs have played a unique and transformative role in educating and graduating generations of Black students, and that’s why we’re thrilled to add Norfolk State, our first HBCU, to 2U’s growing portfolio of world-class non-profit university partners.
The Netflix Virtual HBCU Boot Camps will provide up to 130 Norfolk State students and recent alumni with industry-relevant skills in data science, advanced Java, and UX/UI design, on top of the comprehensive university education they’ve already received. Our 2U team worked hand-in-hand with Netflix’s engineering, data science, and design teams along with Norfolk State faculty to develop a custom curriculum intentionally designed to deliver a rigorous and industry-relevant learning experience. All students who complete a boot camp will receive course credit from Norfolk. As part of the boot camp experience, participants will also receive one-on-one mentorship from Netflix tech professionals and career and support services from 2U’s accomplished career team to help create new career pathways into the tech sector.
Some of society’s greatest problems are solved with tech innovation, and if we don’t have representation of all people in both defining the problems and designing the solutions, we risk further entrenching the biases already embedded in our institutions and our systems. By partnering with Norfolk State and Netflix, we are creating meaningful skill-building and mentorship opportunities for emerging Black talent. The Netflix Virtual HBCU Boot Camps are a great example of how universities and corporations can come together to help create a more diverse, equitable, and innovative tech world.
Enrollment opens on October 22, 2020 and courses start in January 2021. To learn more, visit netflix.2u.com.
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