Joshua Scales, Founder and CEO of Uniti Health, talks with Pivot Technology School CEO Joshua Mundy about the importance of recruiting diverse talent at all levels of a tech organization.
Many tech companies are more focused on diversity than ever before, but they may not know where to find people with the skills they’re looking for.
That’s where Joshua Mundy and Pivot Technology School come in. Not only are they working to educate diverse talent and prepare them for jobs in the tech space, but they also work with organizations to help them onboard and retain that talent.
In this episode of HIT Focus, brought to you by Tennessee HIMSS, Joshua Scales, founder and CEO of Uniti Health, talks with Joshua Mundy, CEO of Pivot Technology School, about the benefits of a more diverse workforce, both for tech companies and for the people they hire.
The Value of Diverse Talent
Mundy felt inspired to start Pivot Technology School after looking around at other tech education programs and realizing that very few of the students looked like him. He decided to create a center in the Jefferson Street neighborhood that would focus on engaging with people of color and training them in data analytics, cyber security and software development.
“Our mission, our goal is to get more minorities trained and engaged in technology careers, because tech really is the bridge to economic prosperity,” he explained.
Mundy recognizes that diversity matters for companies, because it allows people to hear multiple perspectives before making a decision that could affect other communities. But he also believes that tech jobs could play a key role in closing the wealth gap for Black Americans.
The median income for African-Americans is $34,000, but the average salary of a junior-level role in technology is $65,000, Mundy shared. That salary difference can transform families and help people start to build generational wealth, so Mundy wants more African Americans to develop the skills they need to take those technology jobs.
Recruitment Versus Engagement
In the year since George Floyd’s murder, Mundy has seen more companies focus on recruiting diverse talent than ever before.
At the same time, he believes that many companies are limiting themselves by only looking to add diversity at the senior level, rather than creating pathways for people to advance through the company.
“Let’s create some opportunities for these junior level people to get some skills within your organization, so they can really matriculate and become junior level developers or senior level developers,” he encouraged.
However, Mundy recognizes that recruiting diverse talent isn’t enough; companies also need to make sure that the working environment is one where women and people of color can thrive.
“Most of these tech shops are predominantly white males. So if you want to bring diversity, and you’re going to bring a Black female into that white male tech shop, that can bring some tension. She could feel uncomfortable,” he explained. “Before we even send you the talent, let’s get the soil right. Let’s get the atmosphere right so when you bring them on, you’ll retain them.”
Preparing Nashville for Future Tech Growth
As Mundy looks ahead to the future of Nashville’s technology sector, he’s hopeful that Pivot Technology School can help prepare the workforce for large companies like Oracle that are moving to the area.
The school already partners with organizations like Amazon, HealthStream and Dollar General to better understand their specific needs and prepare individuals to fill those roles.
For smaller organizations, Mundy believes workforce development is a key factor that will allow them to retain talent when competing with massive companies.
“When you have a big player like Oracle coming into town, that’s 8,500 tech jobs. So there’s gonna be a lot of shuffling around, people are going to be moving from one place to another. If you don’t foster new talent and be really intentional about investing in workforce development, you’re going to be stuck. You’re going to look up and you won’t have anyone in your tech shop because you cannot compete with those dollars,” he explained.
And for people of color looking to break into the tech sector, Mundy believes the next few years are the ideal time to start building skills that will prepare you for jobs that will be created in the future.
“In the great words of Nike, just do it. You know, it’s a lot of imposter syndrome and it’s a lot of people that have never really seen tech as an option,” he shared. “If we can help you overcome the mental hurdle, then actually learning the skill set is nothing.”
This episode is sponsored by MEDHOST. For 35 years, MEDHOST has been partnering with community hospitals and specialty healthcare facilities to focus on what matters most—effectively taking care of their patients. Trusted by over 1,000 healthcare facilities, MEDHOST offers a full suite of healthcare IT and business solutions, including an EHR and emergency department information system. Healthcare providers need a partner who can help them meet patient needs with agility. Backed by world class support, MEDHOST’s solutions are an ideal match for facilities wanting to enhance patient care. To learn more, go to medhost.com.