Miami is making a push to be a global tech hub. But the campaign
led by Francis X. Suarez
, the city’s Republican mayor, faces a big challenge: a history of gaping equity gaps for lucrative tech jobs.
For example, just 3.7 percent of computer and math jobs in San Jose are held by Latinos, even though 25 percent of the region’s workers are Latino, according to a recent analysis
from the Brookings Institution. And only 15-22 percent of all data science-related jobs globally are held by women
, according to the Boston Consulting Group.
A newly announced public-private partnership between Miami Dade College, SoftBank, and Correlation One could be a model for creating more tech career opportunities for job seekers from underrepresented groups. And Correlation One’s approach to assessment is worth watching.
The company’s focus is “data science for all
,” says Shamsudeen Mustafa
, Correlation One’s co-founder and co-CEO.
Here’s how it works: Employers underwrite data science training that Correlation One offers for free to qualifying students and workers, with the company prioritizing those who identify as Black, Latino, or LGBTQ+
. To be eligible for the 13-18 week program—which features online courses offered on weekends with lectures by Natesh Pillai
, a professor of statistics at Harvard University— students must make the cut on an assessment
from Correlation One. The company is seeking to train
at least 10,000 people from underrepresented communities during the next three years. Correlation One also offers a fellowship for women
“As long as you qualify, it’s free for you,” says Mustafa. He adds that “you can point this tool across any talent pipeline.”
Correlation One started off in 2015 as an assessment firm. Since then 300,000 people globally have used its data workflow framework, which seeks to define skills that are necessary for organization-specific roles, including data scientists, data analysts, business intelligence analysts, data engineers, product managers, and quantitative researchers.
All Miami-Dade students will be eligible to take the assessment as part of the newly announced project, regardless of their major. At least 50 slots for learners from Miami will join the Correlation One training cohort, with plans to significantly expand the program’s Miami footprint this fall.
Participants will work on case studies and projects, including ones submitted by the SoftBank Group, a Japan-based conglomerate that is spending $100 million
to support Miami’s tech push. Students will be connected with mentors for career coaching. And those who are not currently students at Miami-Dade will receive credit toward a bachelor’s degree in data analytics from the college.
Streamlining the path between education and the jobs of the future
, according to Laura Gaviria Halaby
, SoftBank Group’s Miami-based head of partnerships and strategic initiatives, will “depend on creative partnerships between industry, universities, and learning platforms
with the potential to address both skill and equity gaps in fast-growing industries like data science.”
, Correlation One’s co-founder and co-CEO, says "data science is the most important skill for the future of work.” He says data skills have a vertical payoff in the job market, rather than a horizontal one—meaning they are valuable across nearly every job type
, compared with more narrow skills like computer programming.
When big employers create their own hiring assessments, says Sabar, score-improving details often get leaked on Glassdoor
. Third-party assessment firms also are attractive because they can eliminate an employer’s bias.
The equity and merit-based focus compares favorably to the status quo for making connections between education and training and jobs, says Sabar. And the company’s assessment has a much lower error rate than most hiring processes, he says. “We try to simulate the actual skills of the job.”