By Krysten Brenlla
The late Prince and CNN’s Van Jones had a vision – to cultivate future leaders and entrepreneurs from underrepresented backgrounds by helping create a diverse talent pipeline that will shift the tech industry as we know it.
Thus, the national nonprofit founded by Prince and Van Jones, Dream Corps TECH, was born.
Dream Corps TECH works to provide individuals, communities, and dreamers from underrepresented backgrounds with access to skills training, scholarships, and job placements in the tech sector, with a mission to shift the industry toward a more inclusive and equitable future for all of us.
The nonprofit focuses on four key elements to ensure equitable opportunities for all: training their talent to secure guaranteed full-time employment in tech-related fields; engaging their participants using media resources and education; changing and influencing policy at the state and federal level; and humanizing it all by “injecting soul into the conversation on tech diversity.”
This weekend, Dream Corps TECH is making its way to Miami to host the second annual Black Future Weekend, featuring 36 iconic speakers and a schedule jam-packed with educational workshops on cryptocurrency, blockchain, web3, and the future of our decentralized market, all aimed at helping Miami’s talent break into our local (and national) booming tech ecosystem.
“The tech industry is a growing industry of good-paying jobs, but the benefits of those jobs are not being shared by communities of color. Part of that reason is that tech companies are not doing what needs to be done to reach these communities, but the other reason is that Black and Brown communities are not always prepared to step into these roles,” said Michelle Ferguson, National Community Initiatives Director of Dream Corps TECH. “At Black Future Weekend, we address this problem from both ends – first, by working with our corporate partners, we’re helping them act on it by reaching qualified and interested job seekers. And through our education panels and networking events, we’re preparing Black and Brown job seekers to have a role in the future of tech.”
The lineup includes (the full list of speakers can be found on the Black Future Weekend Website).
- Van Jones, Founder of Dream Corps
- City of Miami Mayor Francis Suarez
- Hill Harper, Actor and Founder of The Black Wall Street
- Tanya Sam, Director of Partnerships, TechSquare Labs
- Army Armstead, Executive Director & Founding Member, Emergent Works
- Dexter Turner, CEO of OpConnect
- Ruben Harris, CEO of Career Karma
- Dr. Jacquie, TV & Media Expert, Youth Advocate, CEO of ReCapturing the Vision
- DJ Irie
- Najah Roberts, Cryptocurrency Educator, Radio Talk Show Host, Chief Visionary Officer of Crypto Blockchain Plug
- Armando Pantoja, Crypto Expert, FinTech Entrepreneur, IBM Blockchain Award Winner
- DJ Luna, Artist for Wale’s EveryBlueMoon collective
Refresh Miami caught up with the Dream Corps TECH team to bring you five things you need to know for Black Future Weekend, which starts this Saturday, June 25th at 9:45 a.m. in the Miami Beach Convention Center:
- Prince and Van Jones’ goal with Dream Corps was not only to give Black and Brown communities a voice in the future of tech, but also to ensure that the benefits from these high-paying jobs are going to these communities as well. The result was the creation of Dream Corps TECH (formerly #YesWeCode).
- Dream Corps TECH partners with tech companies to host cohorts that train Black and Brown job seekers interested in transitioning to tech. In just the past two years, Dream Corps TECH has successfully placed more than 60 people into new, full-time salaried jobs in the tech industry, with an average salary increase of $40,000.
- In partnership with Google.org and Google Nest Renew, Dream Corps TECH is announcing 15 scholarships at Black Future Weekend, which will cover everything from education to training, to help Black and Brown individuals get their start in green tech. Some of the scholarship recipient winners are formerly incarcerated individuals who have plans to bring more clean tech opportunities to their communities.
- At Black Future Weekend, Dream Corps Tech will also be unveiling new data on wealth inequality provided by their platinum sponsor Stash. According to data collected from a survey conducted by Stash in May of this year, Black Americans reported an average annual household income of less than $55,000 and 67% of working Blacks said they were paid hourly instead of receiving a salary. 93% of Blacks said they want to build long term wealth, but more than half (52%) indicated they didn’t know how to start.
- In addition to panels and discussions on diversifying the tech industry, Black Future Weekend will feature a number of lifestyle events to celebrate, build networks, and encourage expression within the local Miami community.
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