INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Code Black Indy has part of its mission in the name. It’s a nonprofit agency working to improve the pipeline to technology work in Black and brown communities.
And the pandemic has actually put a bigger spotlight on the work.
Code Black Indy representatives say out of all the tech jobs, Black people only make up about 4% of that., adding that part of their work is introducing young people to the opportunities that are out there with the hope of helping them achieve better salaries and work life balance.
Starting with kids grades K-12 and then on up through working age, the organization is working to build a pipeline that fosters success for Black and brown people who come from underserved communities.
“Our community obviously has problems that have been systemic,” co-founder Samuel Campbell said. “Now that we’ve gotten past just having a conversation, what are we actually going to do?”
When Code Black Indy formed in 2018, it started with simple workshops for people interested in tech.
“We started looking at with our corporate partners,” Campbell said. “If you’re offering jobs where they are the entry level ones, the ones that are much easier for people like ours in our community to get into that role. And then we can worry about advancing their skillset once they are in that space.”
With many people working and learning form home this past year, Campbell says they started getting a variety of calls and messages about internet access, job opportunities, tech training and more.
Despite the pandemic, for a time they were able to use the Tech Lounge at Christamore House for some summer enrichment programs like introduction to coding and game development.
“There’s more to this field than just the salary,” Campbell said. “We’re talking about work-life balance here, thinking about all of the parents here that aren’t able to afford their children certain opportunities just because of the sake of time.”
Campbell says while there are many agencies doing similar work, the partnerships are helping move this work forward.
“As we talk about the diversity and the systemic issues, that we have to have people that are in these roles to say we have funding we want to do something about it,” he said.