The recent ruling by the Supreme Court to strike down affirmative action programs in college admissions has not altered the mission of NPower.
NPower’s mission continues unwaveringly to move veterans and youth from under-resourced and underrepresented communities from poverty to the middle class through tech jobs by offering free tech training programs. Three years ago, we formed Command Shift, a consortium of Fortune 500 companies, nonprofits and other organizations and individuals committed to increasing the representation of women of color in the tech sector.
Many of the students in our free tech training programs are not college graduates, or they finish their degrees after obtaining tech certifications. A skills-based approach to job placement in tech isn’t a replacement for college degrees for people of color, meaning, it doesn’t solve the new barriers created by the SCOTUS decision. However, it does represent an alternative pathway for Black and Brown people who would not otherwise have access to these kinds of opportunities.
This isn’t the first time that America’s racial and social justice initiatives and civil rights movements have confronted major structural barriers. During those times– leaders from business, education, nonprofit, public policy, and other sectors, along with human rights advocates and activists, came together, united in their resolve to help maintain and expand access to economic advancement for all people.
We see leaders across America from a variety of industries and specialties, backgrounds and regions, strengthening their commitments to help maintain diversity across every facet of our society. In fact, the SCOTUS decision makes the mission of organizations like NPower even more important. We provide a critical pathway for underserved communities to obtain critical skills and knowledge to help them further their careers, to the benefit of them, the communities in which they live and our country more broadly.
Even with the SCOTUS decision, leaders from across academia are developing strategies to ensure their student populations at all levels remain diverse and we are heartened by this. We believe that the business community can also leverage its leadership position and resources by resolving to accelerate their DEI commitments and ensure equitable opportunities for all people to be as productive as possible in America’s workforce. Countless studies have shown that a diverse workforce not only positively impacts a company’s bottom line, but also increases its ability to innovate and remain competitive in the long-term.
Now, more than ever, business leaders must step up their efforts to recruit the very individuals impacted by the SCOTUS decision — the economic stability and prosperity of our country depends upon it.