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New partnerships designed to expand youths’ access to learning tech

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Technology is one of the industries that keeps moving forward and changing, but the diversity in the field isn’t keeping up.

Several Indianapolis organizations are partnering to provide more opportunities for a more diverse student population.

African-Americans make up about 7% of the people who work in tech. Much of that breakdown, industry workers said, is a lack of access to opportunities and to financial support to get the needed education.

Innopower is spearheading a plan that starts with youths. Students at Rooted School Indianapolis don’t just use technology, they are learning it.

“Tech is something that is still moving forward. While the world has to stop and the world has slow down we know, and we see that the tech world and tech industry is still moving forward,” said school founder Ma’at Lands.

The Rooted School was founded on the idea of tech and it’s expanding through a new partnership.

Innopower, a community development organization with focus in Black communities, is partnering with the Indianapolis Recorder newspaper, Rooted School and the Eleven Fifty Academy to expose Black people and other minorities to tech and opportunities into the field.

“We are not intentionally creating opportunities for young people to be well-versed in tech,” said Innopower founder Emil Ekiyor. “When they walk into those doors technology is not foreign to them. They’ve been doing it for four years.

Ekiyor said there’s a limited pipeline to send minority students into tech. The partnership aims to change that. To not only provide the educational tools to kids, but career opportunities afterward. That’s where Eleven Fifty academy comes in. It’s described as a boot camp for learning software development and cybersecurity.

“They are able to sill up in 90 days with job ready skills that’ll catapult them into the tech marketplace 16 times faster than a college, a four-year college degree, and at a fraction of the cost with the same outcome,” said Eleven Fifty founder Scott Jones.

Ekiyor said it’s important students not just know about possible career paths but know they are real and attainable.