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Facebook Invests in Diversity Big Time

Photograph by Twenty20

Facebook donated $250,000 this week toward scholarships for California residents to attend the San Francisco division of Dev Bootcamp. The scholarship money is meant to cover the 19-week immersive coding camp tuition in its entirety for 20 students, but there's a caveat. Apart from the scholarship money being available only to California residents, it's also only to be used to cover tuition for 20 students who are either females or minorities.

Why is the scholarship money specifically earmarked for women and minorities? Well, it's no secret that the tech industry is largely populated by white and Asian men and something needs to be done to kickstart diversity in Silicon Valley.

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Facebook and other tech companies have long given lip service to wanting to increase the diversity in their workforce to better serve and represent their ever-growing customer base, which is—yup, you guessed it—growing more and more diverse.

If you look at Facebook alone, which mirrors the lack of diversity in Silicon Valley and the tech industry in general, "as of June of last year 84 percent of technical employees were male, 51 percent white and 43 percent Asian. Hispanics make up just 3 percent, while African Americans represent just 1 percent of Facebook's technical workforce."

A big thank-you to Facebook for putting their money where their mouth is and investing in something that will have a tangible effect on bringing underrepresented communities into the tech fold. According to Dev Bootcamp's vice president of business development and corporate strategy Tarlin Ray, "Facebook's generous donation makes a real impact on Dev Bootcamp's goal to achieve proportional representation of the U.S. population with our student base of women and minorities."

Applications for the scholarship are due by May 2. Again, the program is open to California residents who are women and/or identify as part of a minority group that is underrepresented in tech. If you fit the bill and want to learn to code, what are you waiting for? Apply through Dev Bootcamp before the deadline.

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