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March 23, 2023

Bitwise Industries Heads Southwest

Austin, TX or bust!

Earlier this month, a few of our beloved Bitwise Industries employees ventured to Austin, Texas, congregating from our various hubs throughout the country to celebrate SXSW and SXSW EDU, a conference and festival that fosters learning and innovation within the education sector. Though South by Southwest (commonly abbreviated as SXSW) is known most widely for its music and film festival, tech innovators and educators from all over the country gather at SXSW EDU to discuss the people, platforms, and virtual systems that are driving the next wave of educational change happening amidst the digital revolution. With Bitwise at the forefront of economic and educational change via our apprenticeship programs, it felt appropriate to do a recap and let our community know all of the goodness that happened in Austin (presumably in conjunction with very good barbecue). 

Our Mission in Mind

Various members of the Bitwise family traveled to Austin as a means to talk about the economic transformation and impact that comes from training those from underestimated communities brings us closer to stimulating local economies and transforming communities previously lacking the opportunities to grow in the technology industry. People from all corners of Bitwise Industries teamed up to make their presence known at SXSW and SXSW EDU, with Chief Workforce Officer, Michelle Skoor and Vice President of Bitwise Oakland, Kennan Scott taking time to speak on panels about the transformative work happening at Bitwise. 

Equity Above All

Chief Workforce Officer, Michelle Skoor participated in a conversation with other leaders in apprenticeship program development for a podcast broadcast by the Center for Apprenticeship & Work-Based Learning. The podcast, recorded and edited by apprentices, talked about the work being done for young adults of color previously impacted by the economic crisis brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as a general lack of advancement opportunities in the tech industry. Michelle spoke to the barriers to entry that exist for potential apprentices, and how Bitwise seeks to address them and open up new pathways for learning and career development while garnering real-time experience in the industry. Check out their appearance on the podcast here.

Prior to the podcast recording, Tech Services team member Rhieanne Saunders spoke on her experience in her own apprenticeship and how the experience she gained prepared her for her role as a Jr. Salesforce Administrator at Bitwise. “Letting the wider educational community know that Bitwise apprenticeships not only positively impact the individual, but also the community in which the apprenticeships are held, is a pretty impressive flex. It was an honor to represent Bitwise.”

Starting from Within

Vice President of Bitwise Oakland, Kennan Scott, also spoke to the inequities in the tech sector and what can be done in increasing Black representation across the industry. Along with our friends from the Kapor Center and the Kapor Foundation, Kennan sat on the SXSW panel with the CEO of a venture capital company that specializes in closing the racial wealth gap. Together, they addressed the challenges that come from Black communities being negatively impacted by income inequality and exposed the areas of growth that can come from creating culturally-competent tech curriculums for the students in those communities. You can listen to his talk here.

The Cherry on Top

What could get better than a week full of friends, fellowship, and community-building amongst like-minded individuals working to make the technology industry more inclusive? An Innovation Award from the folks at SXSW themselves! Bitwise Industries took home the Mid-Sized DEI Workplace Innovation award for the work we do to bridge the gap between learning and working in the tech industry.

After an already special week of panels and sharing with others about the Bitwise mission, winning an award for the company’s dedication to diversity, equity, and inclusion feels even more sublime. Lives are being changed in real-time at Bitwise, and word is traveling quickly. Our ability to train and subsequently hire the developers, administrators, and project managers working on real-life projects, is a testament to all the ways our company has grown, and the lives Bitwise will continue to change through its efforts to break down barriers and open doors for those previously excluded from the conversation.

Let Us Help You Grow

Bitwise Industries builds tech economies in underestimated cities, driving digital transformation through its Salesforce, DocuSign, and Digital Project Development. Developing innovative tech solutions, and training individuals living in underestimated communities with in-demand tech skills to improve their standard of living is our mission. Centering our efforts in the heart of the downtowns of these overlooked cities, Bitwise is creating a place for the technology industry to take root and ignite local economies.

This post was written by Amber Carpenter, Junior Copywriter, at Bitwise Industries. She is single-handedly relying on the power of Panera mac and cheese (in the bread bowl, duh) to get through the many atmospheric rivers affecting Fresno at the moment.

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