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College students exploring the city. Photo Courtesy of Campus Philly. 
College students exploring the city. Photo Courtesy of Campus Philly. 

Campus Philly awarding $20,000 to Black and Brown college students in underpaid or unpaid tech internships

The Campus Philly Tech Scholars Program is looking to address some of the barriers and inequities facing many students of color in entering the tech field.

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May 26th, 2022

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Campus Philly is committed to ensuring success for all college students, and is looking to address some of the inequities and barriers that often restrict workforce development for many.

Through its Campus Philly Tech Scholars program, Campus Philly will be awarding $20,000 worth of scholarships to 20 Black and Brown college students — $1,000 apiece — who have recently participated in unpaid or underpaid tech or tech-adjacent internships in Philadelphia. Underpaid internships are distinguished as under $15 an hour.

“We know that individual students need a variety of supports along the way to ensure their success in the future workforce, and we work diligently to provide those supports through our career-focused content and events. Certain students, due in large part to structural inequalities, benefit from enhanced support,” Dr. Jennifer Johnson Kebea, Campus Philly President, told AL DÍA

The Campus Philly Tech scholars program is part of the nonprofit organization’s involvement with the Most Diverse Tech Hub initiative, which the City of Philadelphia launched in 2020 with the goal of positioning Philadelphia as one of the top and most diverse tech hubs in the nation. 

“It is important for Campus Philly to be part of the Most Diverse Tech Hub in Philadelphia because it’s our mission to empower diverse college students and recent graduates to find success in Philadelphia,” added Dr. Kebea.

Philly’s tech sector accounted for about 4.4% of the region’s total employment in 2019 — equiting to about 115,000 jobs — surpassing several other large metropolitan regions, such as New York City (4.2%), Chicago (4.2%) and Los Angeles (3.8%). 

However, there is a clear and glaring need for more diversity in the city’s tech industry.

An Economy League of Greater Philadelphia report from 2016 stated that 70.4% of Philly’s tech workforce is White

“In a city as vibrant and diverse as Philadelphia, the workforce — at all levels — should mirror that dynamic of vibrancy and diversity,” said Dr. Kebea. “We have a long way to go in Philadelphia to making this a reality, but concerted efforts like the Most Diverse Tech Hub and other sector-based strategies are a good start.”

She further noted that research has shown that diverse teams produce higher quality results, exhibit increased creativity and productivity, foster a sense of belonging and positively impact the bottom line for the businesses they support.

To add onto its involvement with the Diverse Tech Hub Initiative, Campus Philly also hosts several career events to work to address the very goals of the initiative, providing opportunities to diversify the tech field in the city, as well as for students of color to earn money, develop experience and build their network while they are students. 

“College students shouldn’t need to make the difficult decision between working to earn money… and interning,” said Dr. Kebea. “Paid internships are essential to removing barriers in workforce development and equalizing the playing field for all students and recent graduates.” 

College students may qualify for one of the $1,000 Campus Philly Tech Scholarships if they are truthfully able to answer “yes” to the following questions:

  • Are you a racially diverse college student?
  • Did you have a tech internship with a Philly-based company in summer 2021 or are you in one this fall?
  • Was the internship unpaid or underpaid (less than $15/hour)?

To apply for the Campus Philly Most Diverse Tech Hub Internship Scholarship, click here. Applications will remain open through Friday, Oct. 8 at 11:59 p.m. 

This article is part of Broke in Philly, a collaborative reporting project among more than 20 news organizations focused on economic mobility in Philadelphia. Read all of our reporting at brokeinphilly.org.

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