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Queens Startup Prepares Underrepresented Groups for Careers in Tech

Written by: Candice Roberts

Months into the COVID-19 global pandemic, one Queens nonprofit tech startup, Inclusion, continues to change lives through upward mobility by providing free coding and career training for underrepresented groups with the goal to help low-income students find jobs in the technology sector.

Despite the challenges of being without access to his co-working space, losing family members to COVID-19, taking a hit in funding from investors, and now restructuring classes to be fully online, Inclusion Founder and Executive Director Saeed Jabbar remains positive and highlights the core mission of the program, which centers around empowering students with the knowledge and skills needed to secure high paying tech jobs. 

Inclusion offers classes in Project Management, Digital Advertising, and Web Development. The latter includes learning in-demand programming like JavaScript and Python. According to Business Insider, “The 20 top tech skills that employers want and that can help you find a job” highlights, “The programming language Python is a relative newcomer and today is one of the top skills on the list. Python has had explosive growth because of the rise of data science and machine learning and also because it is easy to learn.”  

According to Forbes, “The program has trained more than 100 students — most are immigrants — in the skills they need to become web developers, back-end coders, and project managers. Students come into the three-month academy in lower-paying roles and land technical positions that can start at $60,000, an economic advance that catapults them into the middle class. So far, 73 percent of graduates have secured employment in this kind of work.”

“To see the transformation of students who come to the program with low paying jobs, be able to grow their career trajectory through learning these technology skills and find full-time tech jobs at companies like Wayfair, Rent the Runway and Google is truly transformative for the students, their families, and their communities…The main challenge is maintaining funding to continue to offer our programs for free when many for-profit and nonprofit tech schools can charge up to $18,000 for coding courses”, Saeed said. 

Despite hiring freezes and unemployment on the rise, tech jobs are in high demand. Just this week, Amazon announced plans to create 3,500 new tech and corporate jobs in six cities in the United States. According to Day One, The Amazon Blog, the company will invest more than $1.4 billion in these new offices, which will host teams supporting businesses across the company. 

Catch up with Saeed on all social media platforms at Saeed Jabbar or at saeed@incl.us

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