We can’t transform tech without tech. SMASH is a part of the Kapor family of organizations that works to remove barriers to Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education and tech careers for underrepresented people of color. Taking a comprehensive approach to fixing the leaks at every stage of the tech pipeline, from K-12 education through the workplace with education programs, advocacy, and social impact investing. The Leaky Tech Pipeline, a Kapor Center report and website tool detailing the complexity of tech’s diversity challenges to inform solutions is a framework meant to increase:
- Understanding of the causes of disparities in the technology ecosystem
- Raise awareness about effective strategies and stages for intervention
- Drive the development and implementation of comprehensive solutions
In Silicon Valley, the racial and gender disparities are stark. Across 177 companies surveyed in Silicon Valley, less than 8% of the workforce is either Black or Latinx and only 30% are women.
The Meta | SMASH: Career Insights Program is just one of the many strategies to prioritize diversity and inclusion in the workplace and to ensure the next generation of STEM professionals are prepared for their future roles in tech.
SMASH is a multi-year STEM education program. Starting in high school, students enter the flagship program — Academy, a residential college prep program that empowers students from underrepresented (African American, Latino/a, Native American, Southeast Asian and/or Pacific Islander), economically underserved, and first-in-family to attend college backgrounds to deepen their STEM skills to pursue STEM careers. Upon completion of three years in Academy, alumni are welcomed into, and transition to SMASH alumni programming. Beginning their final year of high school, scholars receive comprehensive college admittance, persistence, and workplace readiness programming that ensures SMASH Alumni successfully pursue a STEM profession. What are the results?
- 51% of SMASH alumni are working in a STEM field, compared to the 6% US national average.
- 78% of our SMASH seniors committed to majoring in STEM, compared to the 45% national average.
- 85% of our SMASH alumni graduate college within 5 years, compared to 55% national average.
The SMASH Alumni Team (internally known as the A-Team), in collaboration with Meta, co-designed the Meta | SMASH: Career Insights Program. The virtual pilot program provided 100 Tech Career Scholars (also SMASH alumni) from across the nation with 25 hours of immersive programming and learning opportunities from 60+ Meta employees across over 15 internal teams. Participant selection included a highly competitive application process, and the majority of the Tech Career Scholars were also participants of SMASH Rising (check out SMASH’s unique take on an internship program).
Meta | SMASH: Career Insights Program Features:
Meta EMPLOYEE INTERACTION, providing opportunities for college students of color to learn from those in tech and receive information and guidance
TECH CAREER EXPLORATION, igniting a spark of interest in a variety of career paths and roles offered at high-tech companies
JOB SEEKING PREPARATION, including resume building workshops and interviewing strategies to prepare for a role in the tech industry
NETWORK BUILDING, encouraging SMASH participants to form relationships within the cohort that will extend beyond the time spent in the program
Meta | SMASH: Career Insights Program Outcomes:
After completing the pilot program, students reported that they were more likely to pursue a role in tech and felt more knowledgeable about the many roles and opportunities open to them within the tech industry. Results like these are a strong indicator of the impact of exposure opportunities like the Meta | SMASH: Career Insights Program.
JOIN THE FUTURE OF WORK MOVEMENT
Now is the time to make the long-term commitment to prepare the next generation of STEM innovators. Learn more about becoming a host site by visiting the SMASH website. Please reach out if you are interested in hosting an inaugural Career Insights Program or SMASH Rising pod at your company/organization. We look forward to collaborating together, collectively investing in the future of work, and transforming tech.