Laura Weidman Powers, 2013 Social Innovation Fellow

Diversifying the Tech Sector
Founding Executive Director, CODE2040

The growing need for qualified professionals to fill the rapidly expanding job market in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) is converging with a massive demographic shift that will result in blacks and Latinos making up 42% of the U.S. population by 2040.

While these groups are growing, their representation in STEM fields is not. Currently, minorities constitute only 7% of the technology workforce. Their absence from this sector will likely contribute to a worker shortfall within the next decade, and will also keep the wealth gap in this country firmly in place.

To address the issue, two students from Stanford GSB have created a new pathway to educational, professional, and entrepreneurial success in technology for underrepresented minorities. Laura Weidman Powers and Tristan Walker, both MBA ’10 graduates, have launched their organization, CODE2040, with a flagship summer fellowship program that places high-potential black and Latino software engineering students in internships with top startups.

CODE2040 also provides mentorship, leadership training, and network development. The organization is already helping minority students enter the tech workforce, and is providing them with the resources they need to stay and succeed there as engineers, technologists, thought leaders, executives, and entrepreneurs.