June 15, 2023

Black Indianans To Access Tech Apprenticeships Thanks To $300K Grant

Black people apprenticeships

The Indianapolis African Quality of Life Initiative (IAAQLI) has pledged to give $300,000 in grant support for Black people in tech.

As a result of this funding, tech companies such as TechPoint, InnoPower, and Sagamore Institute are now seeking companies in Indiana to provide apprenticeships in tech to low-income Black adults. 

The IAAQLI is funded by a $100 Million Lilly Endowment, Inc. grant to build collaborations and partnerships to elevate the quality of life of African Americans in Indianapolis.

According to Building Indiana Business, the two-year pilot apprenticeship program is making major changes for Indiana’s Black community.

“Within our community are countless people with the ability to succeed in tech careers” InnoPower’s founder and CEO Emil Ekiyor told Building Indiana Business. “But many of them don’t have the resources or relationships to access these.”

“Companies that participate in this program are opening the door to opportunities that can create generational change while helping to fill some of their most-needed roles right away and for years to come,” said the former NFL player. “Companies must have some skin in the development process for Black Hoosiers.”

How do apprenticeships help Black people get into tech?

Computer World reported that apprenticeship programs could help diversify the talent pipeline, specifically in the tech industry, and a stronger way for Black workers to get into the tech industry.

The Kapor Centre and NAACP’s report found in 2020, only 8% of bachelor’s degrees conferred in computer science were earned by Black graduates, and coding boot camps came out at only 6% of participants identifying as Black.

It also confirmed Black students represent just 6% of those enrolled in advanced placement computer science courses despite representing 15% of the overall student population.

Apprenticeship programs, therefore, allow companies to hire apprentices and provide them with on-the-job training alongside educational opportunities. 

However, the costs of these provisions often deter corporations from offering them. This will now change with IAAQLI’s grant, as the usual $12,000 per person tag will be cut in half.

“Having to invest in training can make employers hesitate,” Sagamore Institute President Teresa Lubbers told Building Indiana Business.

“By reducing some risks, we can get more employers involved and prove the talent in central Indiana’s Black community.”

Sara Keenan

Tech Reporter at POCIT. Following her master's degree in journalism, Sara cultivated a deep passion for writing and driving positive change for Black and Brown individuals across all areas of life. This passion expanded to include the experiences of Black and Brown people in tech thanks to her internship experience as an editorial assistant at a tech startup.