The tragic killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis Police officers and the resulting protests happening worldwide have brought the issue of inequity and systemic racism to the foreground in our community. While achievement and opportunity gaps along racial lines impact virtually everything in our society, at Prime we focus on the world of software. And examining that world, it’s clear that these systemic inequities are both contributors to, and effects of the lack of representation by Black Americans in software design and development teams.
While lack of representation in the industry may not seem like the gravest issue facing Black individuals, it means that increasingly ubiquitous software-driven interactions can fail to acknowledge the needs of users of color and it also means that Black individuals are less likely to benefit from the economic boom and opportunities enjoyed by tech workers and tech companies. Racial inequity is a vast problem that requires systemic change to address and, while individuals and organizations may feel overwhelmed, we believe that Black representation in software is an area Prime can make a difference.
Prime’s vision is to humanize technology by bringing diverse and driven problem-solvers to the challenge of creating a better tomorrow. We strive to continually invest the time, energy, conversation and action to make our school community inclusive and accessible for all students. Students at Prime engage in a series of lectures and activities addressing diversity, equity and inclusion and the ongoing evolution and improvement of that program is a priority for us in 2020. Prime also has, to date, provided $140,500 in scholarship dollars to students of color to support access to our economically transformative programs and we’ve worked with MSP TechHire since its inception to support opportunities for historically under-represented groups in technology.
This moment is about what we can do going forward. To that end, beyond the ongoing work above, Prime will be taking the following new actions:
- In addition to our existing diversity scholarship aimed at all students of color, Prime has created an additional $1,000 scholarship for Black students. These two scholarships, taken together, will allow any Black student to begin study at Prime without any out of pocket expense and give them the option to pay reduced tuition after they’ve secured employment through Prime-subsidized financing or income-based repayment programs.
- As a core part of Prime’s program, students engage with community organizations and businesses in pro-bono projects to build their portfolio of work while having an impact on the community. To date, Prime students have delivered well over $2M worth of professional services. Going forward, Prime is committed to prioritizing support for non-profits, social ventures, small businesses and startups that are owned and operated by people of color. Interested organizations can reach out at email@example.com.
- Each week at Prime, we bring professionals from the community into the classroom to share their perspectives and help students get a more nuanced understanding of the industries they are entering. Going forward, we are dedicating time and effort towards recruiting speakers at the intersection of technology and social justice to help students see how the skills they are learning can be leveraged to improve equity and inclusion in our society.
- Everyone holds pluralistic identities and each respective identity is valued. for each of us, we often have one identity that most informs our day to day life. Prime is working with our alumni community to launch and support affinity groups including one for students and alumni of color to provide space and opportunity for people to connect with others who share aspects of their identity, especially in situations in which aspects of their identity are under-represented or marginalized. It’s a chance to gather, share experiences, discuss self-image and conformity in the industry, and strategize solutions to common problems.
The work required to create a more socially just society looks different for all of us. At Prime, we hope to make an impact to increase Black representation in tech, support Black-owned organizations, bring visibility to the impact tech practitioners can make on society, and support community infrastructure for historically underrepresented folks in our student and alumni communities.
Black Lives Matter in Tech Scholarship
Prime is now offering a $1000 scholarship for prospective students who identify as Black or African American. This scholarship can be used in conjunction with Prime’s broader diversity scholarship that applies to all students of color. These two scholarships, taken together can be used towards the $1,500 up front costs for study at Prime.
By offering this scholarship, we hope to reduce barriers to entering the tech industry for Black students. To learn more or get your questions answered, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or view the FAQs below:
- Who is eligible to qualify for this scholarship?
This scholarship is available to individuals who identify as Black or African American.
- What is the process to apply for the scholarship?
Students can apply to Prime per the normal process using the online application at https://primeacademy.io/apply. The scholarship will be automatically applied for eligible students.
- Where can students go to learn more?
Questions can be directed to email@example.com and a staff member will reach out with answers.
- What can the scholarship be applied to?
The scholarship can be applied towards Prime tuition and can be used to offset the down payment ordinarily required so that students using a loan or an ISA can study with no money down.
- Will Prime work with students to lessen/alleviate any financial burden after the down payment?
For students concerned about monthly payments in the current climate, Prime may be able to offer an income-based repayment option that would delay payments until the individual is back in the workforce.
- Is this only for a limited time?
If so, when does the program end? This scholarship is available for students admitted after 6/19/20 and does not have a defined end date at this time.