The story of a small village that is brought together by a weary traveler in need of food with no money has served as an analogy for many years. If you are not familiar, it is the story of Stone Soup. In this story, a young woman through the magic of a single smooth stone and a kettle of boiling water pulls together the meager resources of all the villagers to create a delicious pot of soup that feeds the entire town. Before this young lady’s appearance villagers were barely getting by and did not have enough resources individually to have a complete meal — they were struggling! However, when they each contributed what they had it was enough to even go back for seconds.
It would appear that this is happening in growing proportions in our new industrial/technological age as well. There are those that are using technology to build companies like Google, Facebook, Apple, etc. that are accelerating the rate at which we innovate and solve some tough problems in the world. It would seem that they have everything they need to make the best soup ever! Recent articles regarding their lack of diversity, offensive cultures, limited perspectives reveal that even amongst these giants they have weaknesses that impact even their ability to grow.
In stark contrast, there are those in some communities being left behind the technological era. I will not dive into the statistics or details of how steep a hill it is to climb for those from underrepresented groups or low socioeconomic backgrounds to even be in the room with someone that might build the next best tech company or get an entry-level job there. This would be a very long blog post…. instead I’d like to direct your attention to the world of non-profits.
Even in this day and age small nonprofit companies still rely on very little to carry out their missions. They are the big-hearted 💖 organizations that keep their doors open fueled largely by their purposes, values, and the needs of those they serve regardless of a severe lack of resources. They may be small but they know their communities as well as have organizational skills MBA graduates would be hard-pressed to demonstrate.
There are workforce development initiatives around the country to teach people “technical skills” for entering the job force with little support and also low resources. The skills they teach are being replaced as fast they can build up a curriculum for them. However, this is an old known format and grants are readily available to assist in this mission.
Then there is my organization, The Difference Engine NFP, attempting to pull together the need of adult career transitioners struggling to be accepted into entry-level technical roles as well as those nonprofits stuck in the 20th century performing inefficiently or with outdated websites no longer meeting their needs. While there are those working in tech with the knowledge, training and drive to pass on highly employable skills.
The one thing all these nonprofits have in common? The constant search for funding, sponsorships, and resources.
It sounds like we have a bunch of ingredients to what could become an excellent STONE SOUP! My goal as the Founder/CEO at TDE for 2020 is to connect with others so that we can stop struggling individually and thrive together. Partner with companies that wish to invest in the development of adult technology professionals that may not have the perfect resume but have the potential. Grow our apprenticeship to provide more educational opportunities for those that cannot afford the cost of a boot-camp or have long exasperated the ability to return to college. Identify individuals able to donate money, time, or expertise at any level in support of making a difference. We are not looking for handouts but investment in what will be the diverse future of tech companies. We’re training the talent for companies not able to hire but willing to give. Who’s ready to ENGINEER A DIFFERENCE with us?