Austin Free-Net Helps Train Tech Workers
This evening, I am honored to serve as the moderator of the “Solving the Emerging Technology Skills Gap” event at the Google Fiber space in Austin. Presented by Austin Free-Net, other speakers at the lightning talk forum include Dr. Colette Pierce Burnette (Huston-Tillotson University), Parisa Fatehi-Weeks (Google Fiber Austin), Preston L. James, II (DivInc), Belinda Matingou (State Chamber of Commerce for Texas) and Beth Tracy (IBM).
I am particularly excited about tonight’s discussion because diversity and inclusion are topics that we have devoted significant resources to within SXSW programming. In many instances, I believe that we have embraced this topic with passion, grace and precision. Many other times, we have been less successful in our approach. Said another way, we know that we have barely scratched the surface of our potential with regards to emphasizing the importance of diversity and inclusion within the technology industry. Which is why I am looking forward to learning some great new ideas from tonight’s distinguished speakers.
My personal education aside, some will question whether discussions about diversity produce real-world change. On the one hand, I am a firm believer that the more you talk about an idea, the more likely that idea manifests itself into a tangible thing — our thoughts do produce our reality. On the other hand, the question of continued discussion versus immediate, hands-on action is always an entirely fair one to ask.
What is much less questionable is the role of groups such as Austin Free-Net in terms of helping to produce meaningful change in the lives of those who need it most. This organization provides technology training and access to the community, fostering skills that enable people to succeed in a digital age. Whether or not you can attend the August 18 event at Google Fiber, please consider making a small donation to help this worthy non-profit continue to achieve their mission.