Determined to make Silicon Valley representative of America one engineer at a time, Weidman Powers named her organization after the year of America’s projected shift to African Americans and Latinos making up 42% of the population.
This Harvard and Stanford MBA grad’s ambition is to take on inequality of opportunity in the tech industry and close the wealth and achievement gap in the U.S. for African Americans and Latinos by 2040.
“Not to be overly dramatic, but it’s the future of America,” Weidman Powers says.
Black, Latino and Latina students earn nearly 20% of computer science degrees yet make up 9% of the tech industry and less than 1% of tech company founders, she says.
CODE2040 places software engineering students of color in internships with major tech companies and start-ups such as Apple and Intel. Eighty-three fellows have gone through the program and Code2040 plans to double that with the class of 2016. It has also reached more than 1,000 students through Technical Applicant Prep, which prepares Black and Latino students to land and succeed in internships and full-time jobs at top tech companies.
That work was recognized in December when the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation gave CODE2040 a $1.2 million grant to expand its programs.