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Coding bootcamp offers Represent Tech scholarship for those underrepresented in the field

Bridging the diversity divide in the tech field
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Posted at 5:17 PM, Aug 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-27 18:21:57-04

CLEVELAND — As important conversations centering around race and opportunity continue to take center stage across Northeast Ohio, some businesses and organizations are not just talking the talk.

Computer programs, websites, and apps are used by people of every race, gender, and background, but who's creating them?

One coding school in Cleveland is trying to change the face of the tech industry one student at a time.

“Growing up, I didn’t know any Asian female developers, so for me, I really didn’t consider it a path for me," said Shanygne Campo.

Campo is bringing what she called much-needed representation to the tech field.

“Yes, it is an issue within the industry," said Campo.

Despite not having someone who looked like her to say it was possible, Campo turned to Tech Elevator to pursue her passion.

“There are some grossly underrepresented groups,” said Marty Mordarski with Tech Elevator.

The 14-week coding bootcamp is now working to bridge that divide.

Mordarski said the program aims to “build on-ramps to tech careers for people who may be traditionally haven’t had those opportunities."

With less than 25% of its students coming from underrepresented communities, the school invested $1M into its Represent Tech scholarship.

“We acknowledge it’s a small step and it’s a first step. The scholarship covers 85% of tuition costs," said Mordarski.

It's open to females, people of color and those who identify as transgender or non-binary.

“The more diversity you have and opinions and voices and perspectives and context, the better that you can serve your customers as a business," said Mordarski.

Campo is a junior developer at an insurance company in Cleveland.

“It’s really important for all walks-of-life to be able to be represented in different industries because we’re all different," said Campo.

As she navigates through her new career, Campo is ready to extend a helping hand.

“I definitely recognize my privilege, and I definitely recognize the importance of me being in this position.

She has a message for all those young Shanygnes out there.

"Imagine yourself in this position too, you can easily be doing what I’m doing. Being in this position is so important, so I need to pave it forward to other people too," said Campo.