Tech Opportunity Fund Launches, Offers $100M in Diversity Scholarships

September 13, 2016

4:40 pm

The code school The Iron Yard today initiated the Tech Opportunity Fund, which will award $100 million in diversity scholarships over the next five years. In partnership with Code Fellows and Operation HOPE, the Iron Yard hopes this fund will lower financial barriers hindering the tech industry from becoming more diverse.

“To maximize the potential of the tech industry, we must maximize the potential of a diverse tech workforce,” said Peter Barth, CEO of The Iron Yard in the press release detailing the fund. “The Tech Opportunity Fund builds off of the momentum generated by innovative initiatives like TechHire to ensure Americans of all backgrounds have access to tech training programs that can open the door to a career in tech. There is a true need in the industry for an organization to unite the many groups that are working toward this goal and by coordinating our efforts, we can truly change the industry for the better.”

How It Works

The financial burden will be split across the three founding contributors, with Iron Yard committing $40 million and Code Fellows committing $5 million, both toward full-tuition scholarships. With Operation HOPE serving as “financial literacy and entrepreneur training partner,” the Tech Opportunity Fund plans to garner the additional $55 million needed to hit its goal by drawing in interested “employers, code schools and civic organizations across the country,” the press released explained.

The Fund Is Unprecedented

Rodney Sampson, a partner of the Tech Opportunity Fund and partner at TechSquare Labs, spoke on the fund’s breaking of ground:

“The creation of the Tech Opportunity Fund is unprecedented. By far, it is the largest tangible strategic financial commitment to diversify the technical talent and workforce that will drive our nation toward an inclusive innovation economy for all.”

Applications for the scholarships will open by January 2017. To qualify, applicants should both get into a participating code school and then apply for a Tech Opportunity Fund scholarship. Qualified students will then receive the scholarship: First come, first served.

Read more about diversity on Tech.Co

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Adam is a writer with an interest in a variety of mediums, from podcasts to comic books to video essays to novels to blogging — too many, basically. He's based out of Seattle, and remains a staunch defender of his state's slogan: "sayWA." In his spare time, he recommends articles about science fiction on Twitter, @AdamRRowe