A. New report details broad racial and gender inequalities in the Washington state tech workforce, and makes a series of recommendations to address them.
Among the recommendations are the creation of workers’ cooperatives with state support for independent and contract workers; the establishment of a state start-up fund to support women and people of color in the technology industry; and expanding the contact person approach and training programs of the state’s technology industry to address equity issues.
The report, Creating Quality Jobs for All in Washington’s Tech Sector, was published by OneAmerica, an immigrant and refugee advocacy organization, and written by our guests on this week’s episode of the GeekWire Podcast: Researcher and Consultant Kimberly earles; other Marcus courtney, a public affairs consultant specializing in labor issues.
Here’s a condensed version of the report’s nine recommendations.
- Expand the reach of the Governor’s Information and Communication Technology (ICT) industry leader to include promoting equity, stability and quality jobs across the industry.
- Create a Washington Innovation start-up fund to incubate the next generation of entrepreneurs for tech products and jobs, targeting and supporting BIPOC women and business leaders for funding. This would be similar to the California, Illinois, Oregon, and Vancouver, BC funds
- Expand the focus of the state’s Computer and Information Technology Center of Excellence to include training for additional career paths, such as project management and technical writing, while expanding support for contract and immigrant workers, and women and workers BIPOC.
- Launch state-backed worker-owned cooperatives that freelancers and contract workers can join to serve the technology sector, offering workers a more stable and equitable working relationship with industry employers.
- Convene a BIPOC technology summit, in conjunction with regional workforce development councils, to identify structural barriers and targeted and focused solutions for people of color.
- Institute an annual report on the state of technology and the technology workforce that produces detailed information on the number of workers in the state, including independent contractors, staffing agency contractors, and H-1B workers, and addresses the status of diversity within the tech industry. .
- Invest in institutions charged with identifying and supporting immigrants and refugees with foreign credentials to apply those credentials to the workforce in Washington State.
- Create state and regional liaison positions to build and strengthen networking opportunities between technology companies and social service organizations working with immigrants and refugees with technology credentials.
- Invest in strategies to connect low-income community members (youth and adults) with skills of value to the technology sector, including scheduling boot camps, and ensure these programs include robust strategies for access language and cultural orientation.
Read an executive summary of the report hereand listen to the previous episode to hear Earles and Courtney discuss the findings and recommendations.
Audio production and editing by Curt Milton; Theme music by Daniel LK Caldwell.