“Freedom is not a state; it is an act. It is not some enchanted garden perched high on a distant plateau where we can finally sit down and rest. Freedom is the continuous action we all must take, and each generation must do its part to create an even more fair, more just society.” — John Robert Lewis – Freedom Rider, U.S. Congressman, Author
During the last year, I was part of a small, passionate, ad-hoc, team of FBS employee-owners who worked together to develop the CREATE (Creating Racial Equity Advancement in Tech Employment) mentorship initiative. CREATE extends the FBS core values of opportunity, freedom, and respect outward into society through an in-house initiative focused on providing mentorship and skill-building in basic computer science, programming and project development for economically disadvantaged and at-risk BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) youth throughout the US to help improve racial equity and advancement opportunities in tech careers.
CREATE engages outside partners who work closely and regularly with underserved youth populations nationwide to provide a pool of program candidates. FBS employee-owners commit their skills, experience, and collective knowledge backed by financial support from FBS to help these young adults build employable skills, grow in self-confidence, and create a path towards a professional career
The CREATE mentorship is a distributed, educational cohort that helps participants gain both academic understanding and professional experience. Participants work through an approved curriculum and complete projects along the way with coaching and guidance. Once participants gain enough experience, they’re paired together with an FBS Project Manager to complete a full, self-contained learning project, giving them the experience of creating and estimating tickets, breaking work into pieces, and collaboration. As participants mature into capable developers, FBS hopes to provide paid internships or entry-level opportunities and/or recommend the participants to industry colleagues for employment.
The program will start with a small cohort focused on computer science, programming and project development. Over time, as we learn and refine, the hope is to scale the number of mentors, participants, and disciplines (marketing, sales, development, etc), perhaps even expanding beyond FBS.
Both human potential and opportunities can be stifled or limited by the environment around us. At FBS, we believe that by positively influencing the environment with education, communication and care, we can ignite human potential while cultivating self-confidence and providing key building blocks for a better future-outcome with increased opportunities.
Every day I’m proud to be an FBS employee-owner; today, even moreso. I’m humbled by the commitment of my peers and by the Developers, Project Managers and staff who will serve as CREATE mentors, developing and administering the youth curriculum as we get this off the ground. It’s one thing to have your core values on a wall somewhere, it’s something entirely different and thoroughly inspiring to bring them to life through thoughtful, focused action – with the intention to better others and the world around you.
As we pursue this initiative, we’ll be sure to update you on progress, successes and lessons learned. We may even call on you to help!