MEDA Free Mission Techies Program Creating a Pipeline for Diversity in Tech

Graduates: 138 out of 154 (a 90 percent rate).

Working in tech jobs: 74.

Gone on to post-secondary education: 49.

Those are the powerful numbers of MEDA’s free Mission Techies program since its pilot just three years ago. It’s a program positioned to scale up.

MEDA initially received a grant from San Francisco’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development (OEWD) to launch a Young Adult WorkLink Program that trains low-income young adults ages 17 to 24 to be part of the Bay Area’s booming tech sector.

States OEWD’s Senior Workforce Development Specialist Orrian Willis, “The Mission Techies program includes all of the required elements of a successful and strategic workforce development program. Starting with the bundled services offered to the Mission Techies and ending with the access to technology, work-based learning and occupational skills training, the program’s participants are presented with real opportunities to break into the tech industry.”

MEDA’s free Mission Techies program is creating a much-needed pipeline for diversity in tech, along racial and gender lines. Participant demographics are: 74 percent Latino; and 22 percent non-Hispanic, with most African-American (4 percent did not report.)

Clients are from the historically underresourced communities of color in the southeastern quadrant of the city. (You must be a San Francisco resident to qualify for the program.)

Thirty percent of these young adults come from a family with annual earnings under $10,000 — this in a city with a median household income of over $81,000. That’s eight times less.

The Mission Techies comprehensive curriculum calls for an intensive, 12-week training, with a focus on the following competencies: hardware; software; networking; tech support; coding (HTML, CSS and JavaScript); and Salesforce. Then there is the teaching of the soft skills most participants lack, running the gamut from business communications and job readiness to how to be a team player and learning to be accountable to management.

An impactful part of the program are the campus visits to renowned Bay Area companies. Some are household names such as LinkedIn, Microsoft, Google and Facebook. Others are the tech startups that seemingly dot every corner of Downtown San Francisco, SoMa and the Mission. These visits are meant to inspire Mission Techies, plus foster the making of connections for prospective mentorships and/or internships.

These relationships between MEDA and tech companies have also led to tech volunteers giving back to the community. Some teach coding. Others mentor the young adults.

The next cohort of Mission Techies begins its 12-week journey on the path to an IT job on January 17 .

“I am currently signing up young adults for our next group, which will be lucky #13. If anyone is 17 to 24 and not sure what they want to do for a career — or knows someone in that situation — I urge them to check out our free program. A life can change in just a few months,” concludes MEDA Technology Training Coordinator Leo Sosa.

If you are interested in free young adult training, contact Leo Sosa at (415) 282-3334 ext. 105;

If you are interested in volunteering with Mission Techies, contact Lucia Obregon at (415) 282-3334 ext. 156;

If you are interested in funding Mission Techies, contact Jillian Spindle at (415) 282-3334 ext.116;

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