By: Bethany Lindsey, Director of Education

If you know a student who might be interested in attending one of these classes, please fill out this form!  

When thinking about the problem of diversifying tech, there are many things that come to mind as a potential solution. It is a lot to take on, and our team is laying the foundation to do that work.

We are taking a systems-oriented approach, by increasing the amount of diverse people we are putting into tech, supporting these students throughout their time at Ada, as well as educating allies in the tech world to continue that support once our students enter industry. The focus of this blog post is on the first of those goals. 

One of Ada’s focuses is on increasing the number of qualified underrepresented minority applicants at Ada. While we focus on serving low-income people, underrepresented minorities, and members of the LGBTQIA+ community alike, analyses from previous admissions cycles show our underrepresented minority (URM) applicants struggle the most in making it through the application process.

We define URMs as Black or African American, Hispanic/Latinx, American Indian or Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander. We know that we need to bring more people in and meet them where they are at to be successful. With these findings in mind, we ran a pilot program in March of 2020, and saw an increase of 46% in URMs making it to the final round in our application process. We are now looking forward to leveraging our learnings from this pilot to run an expanded and improved program in August and September. 

Pilot Program

In March 2020, we ran four pilot classes. The timing was unfortunately somewhat impacted by Covid-19. We were forced to run the classes online instead of in person, as originally intended. Despite this, we were able to meet each of our goals:

  • Goal: 12 attendees per session in order to increase qualified applicants
    • We had 13 students attend each of the 4 workshops. (Students could attend multiple workshops.) 33 students attended total. We had more registrations, but enrollments dropped off as Covid-19 was developing.
  • Goal: 7 students enrolled in the program from this workshop
    • 12 of the 19 enrolled URM students in Cohort 14 went through the Pre-Ada Intro Workshop.

Student Testimonial:

“I had previously worked on the Ada Jumpstart curriculum and this workshop helped me better my skills from all of my learnings. The hands on practice during the session was extremely beneficial.”

Looking Forward

We are now working to expand into a formal Ada Build Intro Series in preparation for Cohort 15 (C15) to have an even larger impact. Our goal is to have 50 attendees participate, 40 attendees apply and 20 attendees enroll. 

This next round of Ada Build intro courses will be delivered in two different formats in order to meet the needs of the most potential applicants:

If they need more remote online learning with a study session on Saturdays, we’ll have that: Ada Build Study Halls – Weekly on Saturdays from 10am -12pm starting August 15th.

We will give students access to an online platform, and bring questions to the study hall. Students are encouraged to sign up for multiple sessions.

  • August 15th 
  • August 22nd
  • August 29th 
  • September 12th

If they want a more traditional workshop, we will have that during the week: Ada Build Intro Class Series – mid August – mid September (6 – 8 pm)

  • Option 1: Two Wednesdays (August 19th and September 2nd)
  • Option 2: Two Wednesdays (August 26th and September 9th)

We will look forward to evaluating the effectiveness of each of these approaches through the C15 the admissions cycle (admissions for C15 opens September 11th).  We will continue to evolve the program as we gather more information to ensure we can develop a more robust program for the future. 

While we are excited about our initial findings here, we have big goals for this program, and we need your help to reach them! 

If you know a URM who might be interested in attending one of these classes, please fill out this form!