Partnership with education nonprofit to build pipeline of diverse tech talent kicks-off with special experience for Philadelphia high school students at Comcast Technology Center, including discussion with Comcast engineers and surprise laptop donation
Heights Philadelphia (Heights) and Comcast today celebrated Comcast’s $1 million commitment as Heights’ Founding Inveniam Equity Technology Partner to support the education nonprofit’s bold vision that “all Philadelphia students graduate high school and achieve economic mobility through college and workforce success.” Comcast’s generous commitment will help Heights create a pipeline of diverse talent for technology-related workforce opportunities for Black, Brown, and first-generation-to-college students in Philadelphia. The launch of Heights and Comcast’s partnership was commemorated with an in-depth educational tour and career panel discussion for more than 35 Philadelphia high school students visiting the Comcast Technology Center. The students were also surprised with laptops to support their studies.
“We know that the talent to make our city thrive exists right here within our young people. And this gift from Comcast shows that the tech industry believes our students are the future of this city,” said Sara L. Woods, Esq., co-president, Heights. “Our partnership will prepare students with the skill sets, certifications, and degrees needed for internships and careers in computer science and technology. We are thrilled to have Comcast as a committed partner to help create important and impactful career opportunities for our students.”
“The City of Philadelphia has been long challenged by the issue of generational poverty, which cannot be tackled alone,” said Sean E. Vereen, Ed.D., co-president, Heights. “When partners like Comcast join our network and invest in our young people, we make a stronger and more equitable city. With this grant, our students will not only be able to see themselves in computer and tech related careers, but they will also be able to take advantage of opportunities created by Heights to find them. We need other companies to follow Comcast’s lead and invest in pathways to economic mobility for the city’s young people.”
“As a media and technology company that is committed to diversity, equity and inclusion, we understand the inequities and barriers students of color face when pursuing an education and career in an increasingly digital workforce,” said Dalila Wilson-Scott, EVP and Chief Diversity Officer, Comcast Corporation and President, Comcast NBCUniversal Foundation. “Through this partnership with Heights, we will help to equip Philadelphia students with the digital skills and readiness needed to be successful and have a future of unlimited possibilities.”
As the Founding Inveniam Equity Technology Partner, Comcast’s $1 million commitment in funding over three years to Heights supports the creation of a delivery system to technology-related workforce opportunities for Black, Brown, and first-generation-to-college students. Specifically, with Comcast’s support Heights will:
- Expand its workforce team to enhance individualized career advising capacity related to technology and computer sciences pathways.
- Strengthen its career advising program within each of Height’s current partner schools, including 19 high schools and four middle schools in Philadelphia.
- Create stackable college credits and certifications for high school students tied to computer science and technology career tracks. These dual enrollment offerings (college courses and certifications taken while in high school) will help lower college degree and certification costs.
- Create tech-related internship and credentialing opportunities for high school and college students.
The special tour for the over 35 students who joined Heights to kick-off the Comcast partnership is just one example of the opportunities created through Heights’ workforce program. The cohort of 9th grade students from George Washington High School are a part of a pilot program that Heights is supporting at their school to expand access to computer science/tech career pathways among Black and Latinx Philadelphia students. While visiting the Comcast Technology Center, the students received a behind-the-scenes tour, heard presentations and discussions from Comcast’s BENgineers and TECHWomen, which are employee resource groups supporting Black and women technologists and engineers. Students were also gifted with laptops as a surprise to further bolster their studies and interest in technology.
Comcast’s commitment to Heights is part of $4.3 million in grants awarded in 2022 to 30 nonprofit organizations across Philadelphia to support digital adoption and skills training for residents. These grants were distributed through Project UP, Comcast’s $1 billion commitment to advance digital equity through programs and community partnerships that connect people to the Internet, advance economic mobility, and open doors for the next generation of innovators, entrepreneurs, storytellers, and creators.
Comcast joins the growing network of corporations that supports Heights’ work to create pathways to college and workforce opportunities in underrepresented industries. In 2022, Hirtle, Callaghan & Co. (Hirtle Callaghan) committed $1 million as the Founding Inveniam Equity Partner in Financial Services, sending an important message to the financial services industry that change will not happen without risk, innovation, and long-term dedication to creating pathways for students being left out of professional opportunities. With Hirtle Callaghan’s commitment as a partner, Heights has been able to strengthen offerings in the business, finance and investment management sectors.