CodePath Will Receive $3 Million Investment from Walmart, Microsoft, and Cognizant
By Henry Kronk
November 19, 2019
On November 19, Walmart, the Cognizant U.S. Foundation, and Microsoft Philanthropies announced they would be committing a combined $3 million investment in CodePath to advance computer science education in the U.S.
CodePath is a non-profit dedicated to supporting CS education among communities who are underrepresented in tech. The organization says they have helped teach 6,000 students since transitioning from a for-profit in 2017. Of those, 40% have been women or underrepresented minorities and 40% have been first-generation college students.
CodePath Partners with Higher Ed to Offer Industry-Aligned Instruction
The organization partners with colleges around the U.S. According to a statement announcing the investment, the $3 million will allow CodePath to triple their number of institutional partners.They expect to serve an additional 7,000 students by 2021.
Many coding bootcamps began taking off in the 2010s by recognizing that American higher education wasn’t efficiently preparing professionals for jobs in tech. But recently, some have found success and massive investments by partnering with higher education.
“The computer science coursework offered by most colleges today is disconnected from shifting industry demands. But closing equity gaps in tech requires that we not only equip students with the technical skills employers are looking for, but also prepare them to navigate technical interviews and other barriers that often close the door on tech careers for women and students of color,” said Michael Ellison, founder and CEO of CodePath, in a statement. “The support from Cognizant U.S. Foundation, Walmart.org, and Microsoft Philanthropies is fueling a paradigm shift in talent development where, instead of competing for the top students at a few elite institutions, we scale systems that can teach any student, in any classroom to excel in tech.”
CodePath originally launched as a for-profit instructor promising to help onboard workers at big tech companies. They initially worked with Google, Netflix, Airbnb, Facebook, and Dropbox. In this function, the company developed a large curriculum of industry-aligned courses.
The curricula they developed focus on cybersecurity and hacking, and app development for iOS and Android. These courses will be available at 150 colleges around the U.S. in the spring semester of 2020.
While most of their work today focuses on in-person, on-campus classes, they also offer online options as well, such as an upcoming mobile app design workshop series. The org also does a good deal of work behind the scenes, training teaching assistants and helping to develop course content. They also make industry experts available to offer guidance and assistance. Much of these functions are carried out by volunteers.
A Commitment to Equity in Tech
While alarms about the skills gap in tech have begun to quiet, the tech sector remains largely male and White. In their announcement, Cognizant says that just 7.8% of tech workers are Black and 8% are Latinx.
“Building a more diverse technology sector is good for business and society,” said Julie Gehrki, vice president of Philanthropy at Walmart, in a statement. “We are proud to support CodePath.org in their efforts to provide more opportunities for women and people of color while building a more inclusive technology sector.”
“One of the fundamental challenges in the technology sector is the need to increase opportunities for women and people of color,” said Kate Behncken, vice president and lead of Microsoft Philanthropies, in a statement. “Building on Microsoft’s longstanding commitment to helping young people access and learn computer science, our collective partnership with CodePath.org will help scale its unique model to ensure everyone, no matter their background, can be the leaders and computer scientists solving tomorrow’s challenges.”
Featured Image: Christopher Gower, Unsplash.