We’ve got the scoop on the new #YesWeCode Fund, a scholarship fund led by The Iron Yard, Code Fellows, and We Can Code IT to promote diversity and inclusion in coding bootcamps (and subsequently tech). See what it takes to get the scholarship and why we love it.
The #YesWeCode Fund
In September 2016, Vice President Joe Biden helped announce the Tech Opportunity Fund, a $100 million scholarship program for women and minorities. Since the launch, The Iron Yard has been working diligently to bring new partners into the Fund, and just this month announced that the Fund was rebranded as the #YesWeCode Fund. The mission of the Fund remains the same– increase diversity in the tech industry by removing financial barriers and increasing access to quality tech education. The #YesWeCodeFund aims to connect over 100,000 underrepresented minorities with careers in tech.
Bottom Line: The Tech Opportunity Fund is now known as the #YesWeCode Fund! And applications are now open!
In addition to other bootcamps, Sam Kapila, Director of Academic Operations, Diversity & Inclusion at The Iron Yard, explains their collaboration with other community organizations: “After launching the Fund in September, The Iron Yard began conversations with #YesWeCode, an organization founded by Prince and Van Jones. Prince was deeply passionate about impacting change for people of color and providing them with access to tech and code education. He even held hackathons at some of his concerts. We wanted to honor that spirit, and also reflect the positivity of the opportunities this scholarship can create, so they renamed the Fund to the #YesWeCode Fund.”
How to Get the Scholarship
Applicants should start by applying to one of the partner schools (The Iron Yard, Code Fellows, and We Can Code It). After being accepted by the school, the students will need to request financing options including loans and scholarships from their school. Students will then receive a link to apply for the scholarship from the participating program.
The lending and scholarship options have different financial requirements, so The Iron Yard encourages students to explore multiple forms of financial support, and then choose the one they best qualify for. The scholarship process for all schools is exactly the same and administered by the Fund's partner, Climb Credit, and is a separate application from each school’s admission process. They will verify that the student meets the requirements of the Fund.
What It Takes
So what are the requirements to qualify for a #YesWeCode Fund scholarship? You should:
- Identify as a person of color or a woman.
- Be accepted to their school of choice.
- Meet the financial qualifications that look at income and dependents.
More info can be found on the scholarship process page.
Why We Think #YesWeCode Fund is Awesome
First, we’re always psyched to see partnerships between multiple coding bootcamps, so the collaboration between The Iron Yard, Code Fellows, and We Can Code It is inspiring.
Further, we all know that 18,000 bootcamp graduates enter the workforce each year, and those new developers can have a real, meaningful impact on the makeup of the tech workplace. Ensuring diversity and inclusion in coding bootcamps trickles into our workplaces, strengthens diverse perspectives amongst co-workers and boosts the efficacy of our teams. And beyond a moral imperative to boost diversity in tech, we know that more diverse teams actually perform better. As Sam Kapila of The Iron Yard puts it:
“As individuals and companies within the tech industry, we all have to hold each other accountable to update hiring and cultural practices. For example, there are studies that prove that having women and minorities in key product decision-making rules improves those products, and yet that is still not the norm. There are a lot of ways in which the tech industry can authentically promote a more diverse applicant pool, but we need to look at the whole system from access to education to mentorship and hiring and retention. Specifically to education, scholarships aren’t the only way, but they can be a starting place to removing barriers to education.”
What else can bootcamps and employers do to ensure that their applicant pools and graduating classes are representative of their communities? Sam offers a few suggestions:
“Mentorship by those in similar or next level roles can also be empowering. Representation matters and can be really inspiring. Hosting, participating, or sponsoring events that promote diverse groups (eg. diverse candidates at a job fair) or movie screenings for documentaries like CODE: Debugging the Gender Gap are important too. At the Iron Yard, every campus is hosting a screening of the documentary with panelists or meetup expos around the event. The conversations that happen after watching the movie with students and advisory board members or hiring partners is really important in helping impact change.”
Want to learn more about The Iron Yard or this scholarship? Check out The Iron Yard on Course Report. Visit the #YesWeCode Fund website for more information: or reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.