A model for changing career readiness
While the San Francisco tech boom has created thousands of jobs, low-income Latino families still face numerous barriers to economic success and stability. In 2011, San Francisco’s Latino families experienced an unemployment rate that was more than double the rate of Whites and Asians. Of those employed Latino adults, nearly one-third worked in low-wage service industry jobs, receiving between $10-15 per hour. While many technology companies are taking measures to increase diversity, surveys with 20 Silicon Valley technology companies highlighted that only 3.29% of their employees were Latino.
The Mission Economic Development Agency’s (MEDA) Mission Techies Program seeks to close this gap by providing unemployed and underemployed, primarily Latino youth with the support they need to launch a career in the technology sector. The Mission Techies Program is a comprehensive IT support training curriculum that remains responsive to the evolving job market. Students receive job readiness training, financial capability, and integrated services tailored to their specific needs, maximizing the likelihood of securing employment in the competitive tech sector. As of Fall 2015, the MEDA Mission Techies Program graduated 68 students trained in hardware, software, tech support, and IT essentials, with 82% employed or continuing their education. On average, graduates receive a salary of $25 per hour and have continued on to secure internships or full-time positions at notable organizations, including KIVA, Kaiser Permanente, Facebook, Riverbed Technology, and Comcast.
MEDA was seeking more effective strategies to attract new funders, employers, and participants. Specifically, MEDA sought guidance on development of a five-year business plan for its Mission Techies program. In response, the Full Circle Fund team provided:
- Program analysis – Assessing the operations and curriculum structure of MEDA’s current program.
- Target market analysis – Developing a thorough understanding of MEDA’s participants and the economic landscape surrounding the Latino community.
- Competitor market research – Comparing MEDA’s program against similar nonprofit and for-profit boot camp coding programs.
Expanded Program Curriculum
Full Circle Fund created an in-depth, 25-page report with numerous strategies to deploy as the Mission Techies program expands. This included an analysis of the current program, insights from survey results, a competitive landscape analysis, and tactics for engaging and communicating with different stakeholders. As a result, MEDA expanded their program from 144 hours to 240 hours, introduced a Salesforce certification course and redefined six core competencies that are aligned with six career paths for graduates. Additionally, the program leaders enhanced their grant proposal process, leading to new funding sources that will be used to further support and grow their Mission Techies Program.
Increased partnership building capacity
Part of Mission Techies’ success lies in placing new graduates at tech internships and jobs, which requires a pipeline of Bay Area technology partners. The Full Circle Team offered advice for creating beneficial relationships with influential leaders in the technology community. As a result, MEDA formed new partnerships with Microsoft and coding boot camp Hack Reactor and strengthened its relationship with LinkedIn through a mentorship program. MEDA will continue utilizing these partnership strategies to develop future alliances with technology companies of all sizes.
In early 2016, MEDA Mission Techies was awarded a pre-apprenticeship grant, in partnership with the City and County of San Francisco and the Office of Economic and Workforce Development. This serves to further boost the impact their program has on the San Francisco Latino community as they continue to expand and grow the curriculum for years to come.