Platform Targets Underserved Communities, Preparing them to Excel in Tech Careers
Today NPower, a national nonprofit that creates pathways to economic prosperity for people from underserved communities, announced NPowerMATCH, a mentorship program for NPower students to prepare them to access and thrive in tech careers. Through NPowerMATCH, available in December, the nonprofit builds upon its 360-degree caring approach, which already provides students in need with support in transportation, healthcare, food insecurity, childcare and other areas.
“There are many barriers that underserved populations face in accessing, thriving and sustaining success in technology careers and this is especially true for women of color,” said Bertina Ceccarelli, CEO of NPower. “Data show that Black women hold 3%, Latinas hold 1% and Native American women hold just .03% of tech jobs in this country. NPower’s free tech training classes, available nationwide, are designed to help solve this critical issue, supported by a wide spectrum of support services, including our new virtual mentoring program. Ultimately, our vision is to be a force that helps create a talented tech industry workforce of people from all backgrounds and zip codes.”
To dig deeper into the urgent need of mentoring for women of color, NPower recently conducted a national Omnibus, which found that 57% of US adults think it is essential for women of color to have a mentor when preparing to join an industry or career field that has been dominated by men, with 25% saying this is “very” essential.
“Covid-19 and the recession have hit people of color especially hard, both in terms of rates of illness and unemployment, meaning it’s vital, now more than ever, to provide these populations with vital support systems so they can access opportunities to better their lives and the lives of their families,” adds Robert Vaughn, Vice President, National Instructors Institute, NPower.
By participating in the program, mentors agree to a one-year commitment, supporting two six-month mentee matches. NPowerMATCH mentors are executives who serve as dedicated communication resources providing weekly guided discussions and virtual coaching sessions. Mentoring areas of focus include career readiness, professional personal branding, leadership skills, financial education, ethical self-promotion, critical-thinking skills, problem-solving skills, verbal and written communication, and “soft skills” development.
Jailene Fantauzzi, an NPower alumna commented, “Due to financial reasons, I had to drop out of college where I was working towards a degree in computer science. NPower enabled me to obtain the skills and certification necessary to secure my current job with Samsung, where I solve internal hardware problems for customers. Having additional support through NPowerMATCH will better position students to obtain their dream jobs as I did through NPower.”
NPower envisions a future where the U.S. technology workforce is diverse and clear pathways exist for all people regardless of ethnicity, gender, or socio-economic background to succeed in the digital economy.