In equitable apprenticeship design, you’ll need to gain buy-in for the adoption of many things — from early program concepts, headcount and budget, to equitable practices that include Black, Latinx, Indigenous individuals skilled via alternative routes than bachelor’s degrees (STARs). Use this exercise below to sketch out your early mini-pitch, to gain clarity on the “what” and “why” of your ask, and to serve as your north star to return to as challenges pop up. Because the dominant culture in tech often prevails, it’s important to get clear on your vision for equity to ensure it doesn’t get diluted as you embark on your work.
Brainstorm Exercise: The prompts below can support you in defining your idea and how you will embed equity from the start. You can use these to begin developing an early pitch deck that you can test and refine with relevant stakeholders over time. (Recommended time: 1–2 hours+, depending on team size).
1) What is the equity-based idea you’re trying to get others to agree to?
- How are you grounding your idea in equity?
- A new hiring and development program for User Experience, Engineering, Product Management, Project Management to build diverse representation
- Or bringing an equity lens to improve access/career progression/psychological safety to an existing program
2) What is the reason for your idea? Why is it important?
- How can you ground your north star in racial and educational equity goals?
- Training and education aspects of the program must consider learners’ holistic needs, not just a curriculum.
3) What value will it add?
- For your company?
- For Black, Latinx/e, and Indigenous individuals skilled via alternative paths than a bachelor’s degree?
- For the community?
- Converted apprentice retention rates are much higher than employee average, resulting in reduced spend on company recruitment efforts
- Talent obtains skills, a living-wage, and clearer upward career trajectory
- Underserved communities benefit from apprentices’ improved capacity to build generational wealth
1) How aligned is your idea with your company’s values & goals?
- Does your company have equity and/or talent development goals? If so, how does your idea align? If not, how can you use your idea to help start a conversation on equity?
- If your company has specific goals like increasing diversity or expanding outreach to connect with more talent, identify some ways your proposal might ladder up to helping achieve those. It can foster greater buy-in from leaders who are accountable to meeting those goals. “This proposal aims to establish recruiting partnerships with 2–3 local Hispanic-serving institutions (HSIs) to promote our suite of equity focused programs: internship, fellowship, and career path coaching”
2) What are your non-negotiables that will enhance equity?
- List things you want to avoid, potential risks
- List things you don’t want to compromise
- Avoid creating barriers to applying: consider the types of challenges candidates might have when considering your program and explore how you can provide a level playing field (access to a computer, accessibility, minimum qualifications such as experience required, imposter syndrome, time/effort required for elements like a portfolio/writing)
Again, this is just the beginning of your pitch, which can and will need to be refined with relevant stakeholders over time.
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Tool and best practices co-designed with champions in tech Rahul Choudhury, Meana Kasi, and Angela Pablo.
Have questions or comments about the Equitable Tech Apprenticeship Toolkit? Send us a note.