Addressing Impacts of the COVID-19 Crisis on Emerging Tech Talent

Tech internships are being canceled around the nation due the pandemic. What is the long term impact for innovation and inclusion in tech?

Image for post
Image for post
Photo credit: Women of Color in Tech

CSforALL and the CS education community acknowledges we’re all reeling from the ongoing COVID-19 crisis and the disruption of industry, education and day-to-day life. In this dynamic and uncertain environment, questions of immediate concern regarding access to healthcare, income, and education are top of mind. But there are also less obvious, but very significant threats this crisis is posing for young people.

Last week, CSforALL’s chief evangelist Ruthe Farmer, shared her concerns about the impact COVID-19 may have on graduating high school seniors aiming for tech careers. Similarly, undergraduates are facing dorm closures, cancelled meal plans, virtual classes — and now cancellations of hard-won and critical skill building internships. As of today, 75 companies and counting have cancelled 2020 summer internship programs.

As an organization that works on equity and inclusion, we are very concerned about the long-term disruption of the science and technology talent pipeline — and the damage to diversity and inclusion efforts — due to mass cancellation of student internship programs.

Industry internships are critical for skill building, network development, and employability for all students, but play an even bigger role for students from underrepresented populations, providing critical professional experiences and income to support their education.

Today, we’re proud to join a coalition of national diversity and inclusion organizations, including America on Tech, AccessComputing, American Indian Science & Engineering Society, AnitaB.org, blackcomputeHER, Code2040, CodePath.org, Computing Alliance of Hispanic Serving Institutions, CSforALL, Girls Make Games, Girls Who Code International Game Developers Association, Lesbians Who Tech, National Center for Women & IT, National Society of Black Engineers, Non-Traditional Techies, Out in STEM, Reboot Representation, SHPE, Society of Women Engineers, and Wallbreakers.com collaborating to highlight the importance of supporting the emerging talent pipeline. Together we’re issuing an open letter calling on employers to consider interns as stakeholders in their COVID-19 contingency planning.

Image for post
Image for post
Signatories of “An Open to Employers on Sumer 2020 Commitments Amidst the COVID-19 Crisis”

As we collectively navigate the ongoing COVID-19 crisis — with a hopeful eye towards the future — CSforALL stands ready to collaborate to with employers, educators, and advocates to support the next generation of tech talent and find innovative ways to deliver the education and experiences required to prepare them for the future.

Interesting in joining as a signatory, supporting, or sharing your plans for 2020 internships? Please reach out to Ruthe Farmer.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store