Employment in science, technology, engineering, and math are growing at higher rates that other types of employment. And while many opportunities exist for work in tech fields, women, including lesbians, lag behind men in these careers. Mitali Chakraborty of Tech Jobs Tour discusses efforts to help connect women with work in the tech industries. Click here for part 1 of Technology Jobs and Diversity.
Interview recorded on May 17, 2017. Hosted by Robert Traynham. Part 2 of 2.
Read a partial transcript of this interview below:
Traynham: So, Mitali, if I’m sitting at home and I’m watching this program now on my smart device or wherever I’m at, and I’m in Indianapolis, I’m in Birmingham, Alabama, I’m in Columbia, South Carolina, and I am interested in some type of profession within STEM, where do I go? How can I get perhaps on a mailing list so that when you come to, hopefully, my city, I can hook up with you?
Chakraborty: So, TechJobsTour.com will list the 50 cities that we’re going to from April 27th of this year to April 27th of next year. And if it’s not listed, if we can see that there’s a demand there of people that are wanting to connect to programs in their community, let alone jobs in their community, we want to help make those connections. So we will do the job to then reach out to the local leaders. Our founder, Leanne Pittsford, saw this opportunity by building a community for lesbian women in the tech industry. And she’s been a champion for minority groups since she founded Lesbians Who Tech four years ago. And that was born from going to events and looking around and seeing people that all looked the same. And she wondered…
Traynham: And I assume they didn’t look like her.
Chakraborty: They did not look like her. They were not female. She rarely found queer women in the group, and the Lesbians Who Tech community was born out of that. She was like, “What if I create a space for not only people that look like me to connect with one another, but also provide an opportunity for employers who are looking to create a more diverse workforce to connect with people that are just like her, that have the skills but for some reason have not been able to connect into the jobs?”
Traynham: Mitali, let’s fast-forward to April of 2018. What does success look like for you and also for Leanne?
Chakraborty: Success look like, you know, we are championing the great work that is being done at the local level. One of main advisers is Megan Smith, the third CTO for the USA, and she says, you know, “Let Leanne and Mitali and the Tech Jobs Tour come in and light a match in your community.” Well, heck, if we light a bonfire, we are exceeding our goals. And most importantly, that we’ve had employers step up and say, “We are committed to hiring more women, LGBTQ persons, people with disabilities, veterans, persons of color.” Not only are they making the pledge but we also see success with them reporting back — not only our job seekers, but our employers — saying, “The connection was made. We have now hired these individuals,” and we keep that momentum going past April of next year.
Traynham: Mitali, keep up the great work. Please give our best to Leanne. And I look forward to you coming back on the program to talk about your success. What’s so refreshing about this is that so many people talk about the urban areas, which are very, very important. I’m from Philadelphia, so I understand an urban area. But what’s just as important is getting outside of these clusters, if you will, getting to Indianapolis, going to West Virginia, going to Birmingham. So that’s so refreshing to hear. Keep up the great work.
Chakraborty:Thank you very much.
Traynham: Thank you very much for joining us. And thank you for joining us, as well. For more great conversations with leaders in your community and across the nation, visit comcastnewsmakers.com. I’m Robert Traynham.