Springboard Awards $1.2M in Tech Scholarships to Diversify the Industry

by Jeremy Porr
February 23, 2021
Women make up 47 percent of all employed adults in the United States but they hold only 25 percent of computer science roles.
photo: Springboard

San Francisco-based edtech platform Springboard is on a mission to make tech a more equitable and just place for individuals who have traditionally been underrepresented in the industry.

Two years ago, the company made a commitment to offer nearly $1 million worth of scholarships to support women and people of color in tech. Now, Springboard is announcing that $1.2 million worth of said scholarships have been disbursed to date.

Parul Gupta, co-founder and president of Springboard, said in an interview with Built In that the company expects to “significantly” grow that number in the coming years.

“We founded Springboard with the goal of providing access to high-quality, specialized training so people from all walks of life can broaden their skills, increase their earning potential, and transition into highly sought-after jobs,” Gupta said in a statement.

Gupta is all too familiar with working in male-dominated environments. Following her undergraduate studies at the Indian Institute of Technology, she made the move to the West Coast to grab her master’s in engineering from the University of California–Los Angeles.

“[IIT] is infamous for only having about 5 percent women [enrolled], and most of my career and grad school environments were predominantly male,” Gupta said.

Still, Gupta had no time for distractions. She continued to press forward and after graduation she landed a job at IBM Research. But her new position came with a new set of personal challenges.

“When I began my career at IBM Research, I had very few female role models or mentors. I was a new mom with a toddler and a long commute, an hour-and-a-half each way every day,” Gupta said.

On her commutes, Gupta listened to podcasts and other recorded audio from some of the “world’s best experts” in the realm of online learning. It was there that she found her motivation to get through the day and, later, the inspiration to help get Springboard up and running.

“This is how education should be. Open and accessible to everyone regardless of their life circumstances,” Gupta said. “It shouldn’t be limited to a few hundred students who can get into the Ivy Leagues or can afford the tuition to go to college.”

Springboard has since grown to enroll nearly 20,000 students in over 100 countries.

In support of Gupta’s vision, Springboard is also working with Latinxs Who Design and Techqueria to support their work with Latinx tech professionals. Additionally, the company announced a partnership with Women Who Code last December. The international nonprofit is dedicated to increasing visibility for women in the tech industry.

The two organizations launched a joint scholarship program that will dole out 10 scholarships worth $1,000 each to women who enroll in one of three of Springboard’s tech bootcamps. The bootcamps cover career paths in software engineering, data science and machine learning.

Women make up 47 percent of all employed adults in the United States but they hold only 25 percent of computer science roles, according to Alaina Percival, CEO of Women Who Code.

As part of the partnership, Springboard mentors will be available at numerous events hosted by the nonprofit including Connect Forward. The annual developer conference features code labs and workshops on topics like blockchain, web development, data science, cybersecurity and more.

“We envision a world where women are proportionally represented as technical leaders, executives, founders, VCs, board members and software engineers,” Percival said in a statement.

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