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Can tech companies really call themselves “disruptive” if they aren’t diverse?

Guest post from Maurya Couvares, CEO and Co-founder of Code Nation

As the tech sector continues to struggle with diversity, companies are looking for solutions to make inclusion a priority. In order to innovate and keep their competitive advantage, recruiting and retaining the best employees is a big part of the process. According to a recent study from Intel, improving ethnic and gender diversity in the U.S. technology workforce represents a massive economic opportunity, one that could create $470 – $570 Billion in new value for the tech industry.

Diversity becomes a positive multiplying force in shaping a company's culture, image, and work. When there is a proportionate representation of employees from diverse backgrounds, people will be more likely to stay and draw in others with fresh ideas. In recent years, the industry has been more transparent about its challenges but in reality, little has been done to make a meaningful long-term impact.

One easy change that tech companies can make is partnering with non-profits or outside organizations to widen their talent pool in traditionally untapped markets. Through these programs, companies and recruiters have the opportunity to work closely with local schools and community-based organizations to develop the emerging workforce and train more highly skilled engineers than were previously available. Organizations like Code Nation (formerly known as ScriptEd) and TEALS, recruit volunteers from the tech workforce to fill gaps in the computer science teaching force and expose students to real-world coding challenges through mentors and work experience at top tech companies.

By partnering with schools and organizations that serve low-income and underrepresented youth, tech companies like Etsy are able to tackle their diversity goals on a broader level. Not only are they confronting disparity on a systemic front, they are also closing the resource and opportunity gap in marginalized communities by helping to intervene early in students’ careers - giving them a new world of options, they otherwise wouldn’t have been exposed to.

For an industry that prides itself on being “disruptive” that seems to stop at diversity. If companies applied the same level of problem-solving and dedication to advancing workplace inclusion as they do in launching new software or an operating system update, there would create a win-win situation in which they are able to impact their local community while making a difference in the next workforce generation.


Maurya Couvares, Co-Founder & CEO, Code Nation

Back in 2012, a new job led Maurya to learn to code, which led to founding Code Nation. She wanted to build pathways to the tech economy for students who might not otherwise have the opportunity. Previously, Maurya was a middle school teacher in Philadelphia and coordinated volunteer-based after- and out-of-school programs for NYC high schoolers.

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