INDIANAPOLIS, IN: InnoPower, Rooted School (Rooted), The Indianapolis Recorder, and Eleven Fifty Academy have announced a partnership to improve exposure to technology and light up career paths into the tech industry for African Americans. The shared mission is to create opportunities for African Americans, who are underrepresented in tech.

“Tech is supposed to be the great equalizer. It is projected that the Indianapolis area's base of tech occupation employment – a subset of net tech employment – will grow by 7.8 percent by 2026*. We can't just sit back and hope Black and brown students are prepared for these opportunities,” says Emil Ekiyor, CEO and Founder of InnoPower. “We must create them.”

While community engagement between industry and education is on the rise, these efforts are more challenging in underserved areas. The 46218 zip code is one of the zones that needs intentional efforts to help lift its population. By exposing Rooted students to the Eleven Fifty Academy model, students will be prepared to maximize their opportunities as they enter the tech industry. Rooted initiated its first class this year. Their capacity will be four hundred students as they add a grade each year. It’s inaugural freshman class is wrapping up their first semester.

"The mission of Rooted is to provide our students with personal pathways to financial freedom. Tech is not an afterthought at Rooted, it is the main focus and our students are immersed in it daily as we prepare them for the digital economy,” states Rooted School Founder and CEO Ms. Ma'at Lands. "This partnership will positively impact our students by engaging industry professionals and preparing them to excel in tech after graduation, to continue their education in college, or Eleven Fifty Academy, or wherever they opt to go.”

The Indianapolis Recorder is the third oldest African American newspaper in the United States. The paper is located in the heart of the 46218 zip code.

”For 125 years, The Indianapolis Recorder has been a champion of creating educational opportunities for African American students in Indianapolis,” says Robert Shegog, President and CEO of The Indianapolis Recorder. “This partnership addresses the "Skills Gap" and will develop the talent required for New Collar jobs in our community.”

These deliberate efforts to engage underserved youth with technology are similar to how sports created a funnel for recruitment. The engagement strategy starts at the top and the reaches all the way to early stage developmental levels. The partnership between these organizations enables the tech Industry to have "skin in the game" in this vital developmental process.

“There is nothing more powerful than someone realizing their potential,” says Scott Jones, President and Founder of Eleven Fifty Academy. “At Eleven Fifty Academy, we transform lives and are committed to creating a tech talent funnel for growing technology companies. Providing mentorship and role models is critically important, especially in underrepresented populations.”

The group anticipates, and welcomes, many more partners to join the effort as they gather momentum to make a difference.