B.C. invests $15 million for more diversity in the tech sector

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The B.C. government is investing $15 million to prioritize underrepresented people in the technology sector.

The Innovator Skills Initiative (ISI) offers $5,000 to supplement the salary of new tech-related employees for up to 3,000 paid placements, according to the province.

Brenda Bailey, parliamentary secretary for technology and innovation, is leading stakeholder engagement with people and organizations from underrepresented communities to hear how the government can prioritize inclusion through the ISI program to help people get their first job in the tech sector.

The engagement sessions will include women and gender-diverse people, Indigenous, Black and people of colour (IBPOC) and people with disabilities, among others, the province said in a news release.

“We want to ensure under-represented people have access to the career opportunities that they deserve,” Bailey said.”Filling these jobs will make a positive difference to the B.C. economy, particularly for communities that have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic.”

Bailey co-founded Canada’s first women-owned and operated video game studio in 2011. As part of her mandate she is committed to ensuring placements for underrepresented people are available in the tech sector by increasing the number of ISI grants and that B.C.-based tech companies can hire and grow, according to the province.

“Too many well-deserving women, gender-diverse people, Indigenous, Black and people of colour and other marginalized communities have struggled to enter the growing technology sector and this needs to change,” said Ravi Kahlon, minister of jobs, economic recovery and innovation. 

The ISI is administered by Innovate BC, a Crown agency that connects innovators in every industry and region with funding, resources and the support they need to build and grow companies.

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