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GAINING BUY-IN — Map Out Who You Need

The map of internal stakeholders differs across organizations and those you’ll need to engage will change at each stage of the journey. There will likely be a process of iteration to identify the right internal stakeholders to work with as you discover pros & cons of approaching each one.

If your role isn’t explicitly centered around apprenticeship and you’re helping to introduce the concept to your organization, engage your manager to include your organizing work into the key performance indicators (KPIs) for your role. You are adding value to your company; this is not simply a side or pet-project

1) What you’re gaining buy-in for


  • Early concept for an equitable program
  • Budget & head count
  • Incorporation of equity practices into an existing program component

2) What teams or business units does your idea impact?

List out the relevant stakeholder at your organization and answer some key questions to help you know where to start


  • Technical business unit leadership
  • Technical business unit managers
  • Technical business unit mentors (more junior than managers)
  • Recruiting leadership
  • Recruiting managers
  • Your manager
  • ERG members (see related tool on how to gain ERG buy-in)
  • C-Suite
  • Legal
  • Marketing
  • HR/people ops
  • DEIB leadership
  • Social impact leadership

3) Questions to ask to identify internal stakeholders:

  • Who has set up similar programs (early career programs, internships, returnships) and may already understand the internal landscape plus related opportunities and challenges? Especially in technical business units & in people ops/talent.
  • Who controls decisions related to your idea?
  • What is their level of influence in the org?
  • Who holds the budget or headcount related to your idea?
  • Who is likely to be a fan of your idea?
  • Who is likely to be a skeptic?
  • What level of involvement is likely needed from each of the stakeholders you’ve listed?

4) Empathize with and understand your stakeholders:

  • Ask your target stakeholders questions to better understand their role at the intersection of your idea; understand how relevant processes work and collect data that can help inform knowledge gaps
  • Identify the opportunities and challenges they face related to your idea
  • Brainstorm how you can align your idea with their interests without over-customizing to each stakeholder’s needs, and without diluting the focus on racial & educational equity
  • Develop compelling messaging, data, actionable next steps that speak to their specific opportunities and constraints

5) Define what a green light (success) looks like for a particular stakeholder buying in


  • Attending an early pitch
  • Securing dedicated resources or funding for the program
  • Providing support frameworks to ensure a positive and equitable experience
  • Piloting an equitable best practice from this toolkit
  • Advocating on your behalf with leadership or potential partners
  • Newly demonstrated appetite or interest in racial equity among stakeholders

6) Keep stakeholders aligned with your north star

  • Foster alignment with the core belief system around equity and inclusion that’s driving the apprenticeship
  • Whenever possible, re-align stakeholders with the “why” around equity and inclusion that you wrote about in your early brainstorming/pitch

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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.