Cognizant, Microsoft and Walmart invest $3 million in tech education

Elly Yates-Roberts
By Elly Yates-Roberts on 21 November 2019
Cognizant, Microsoft and Walmart invest $3 million in tech education

The Cognizant U.S. Foundation, Microsoft Philanthropies and Walmart.org are investing US$3 million in CodePath.org to increase inclusion and diversity in computer science through education. 

According to Microsoft, the funding will deliver an “industry-informed computer science curriculum at 150 college campuses nationwide, and support women and students of colour studying and pursuing careers in technology”. 

CodePath.org is a non-profit that works with technology companies and colleges to tailor computer science curricula to meet employer needs at no cost. With the recent investment, the organisation will expand its programmes to over 75 cities across the US and hopes to serve up to 7,000 students by 2021.  

“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 colour,” said Michael Ellison, founder and CEO of CodePath.org. “The support from Cognizant U.S. Foundation, Walmart.org, and Microsoft Philanthropies is fuelling 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.”

A recent study of CodePath.org alumni found that students were three times more likely to receive a job offer after completing the programme than if they had applied through a company’s standard recruiting process.

“One of the fundamental challenges in the technology sector is the need to increase opportunities for women and people of colour,” said Kate Behncken, vice president and lead of Microsoft Philanthropies. “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.”

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