As I look back on the last eight years, I’m amazed. In 2012, I never could have imagined that I was creating something that would still be around and thriving eight years later. After all, I was 24. What did I know?
Here’s what I know now: Juno has succeeded because of all of you.
Some of the most wonderful people I know are spending or have spent part of their careers helping to build Juno. Thousands of wonderful people have trusted us with their education and joined our community. Hundreds of those people remain highly active in our community to this day. Nearly 1,000 people have switched careers and become web developers through Juno’s Bootcamp. I’m proud that, of those 1,000 people, at least half consist of genders underrepresented in tech. We are making the tech community more gender diverse, and inevitably, better.
But here’s something I’m not proud of: I don’t know how many of those 1,000 people are Black. In 2018, we did a survey and found that we had 3 Bootcamp students who self-identified as Black that year. Of 149 Bootcamp students that year, that’s just 2% - despite the fact that the Black population of the GTA is 9%, the largest in Canada, according to 2016 census data. Though we introduced scholarships specifically for Black students in light of this discovery, I don’t consider the measures we’ve taken to be enough.
Back in 2011, when I first started Ladies Learning Code (now Canada Learning Code), my mission was to get more women into tech. I see now that what I was wrongly working towards back then was getting more White women into tech, and if BIWOC came along for the ride, well, of course that would be great. Back then, I did nothing to understand and unpack the intersectionality of identities, and assumed that the things that hold me back as a woman are the same things that hold all women back. I now know that is not true.
Now, in 2020, with a community of 30 passionate full-time employees and over 4,000 alumni, it’s time to turn our attention to bringing true diversity and inclusion to our classrooms.
If our long-term goal is to disrupt the current Higher Education system, which it most certainly is, then we need to focus not just on creating the best experiences and results for students, but also ensuring that our classrooms reflect the diversity of our city and country.
Last month, we began the process of hiring for a new role, an Admissions Coordinator, someone who will be fully responsible and accountable for our Bootcamp admissions strategy, process, and applicant funnel, as well as our scholarship program and strategy, and our distribution of Income Share Agreements. This person will ensure we have the data needed to know if our marketing or admissions processes are leaving specific groups out. If our Bootcamp applicant funnel is showing a lack of diversity, this person will find out why, and create a strategy to fix it. This is one of many ways we will be ensuring Juno is taking action against Anti-Black racism, and all forms of discrimination, all year round.
Our community is unlike any other, and I thank you for being a part of it. As we celebrate our 8th birthday today, I hope you’ll join us in moving forward and working hard to extend the reach of our community further than ever before.