COVID-19 has disrupted many sectors, and higher education is no exception. As we consider the future of computing and technology specifically, it’s clear that COVID-19 will have a significant impact on the current students who are pursuing degrees and careers in technical fields.
In addition to class cancellations and campus closures, COVID-19 has led to a mass cancellation of summer internships. Summer internships serve as critical gateways into technical fields, especially for underrepresented students who may have fewer opportunities to build networks and add to their resumes otherwise. These internships are skill-building stepping stones, and their cancellation could contribute to a lack of diversity in the tech talent pipeline for years to come. Though companies are understandably facing any number of challenges right now, we implore tech leaders to consider the long-term consequences of cancelling summer internships and find alternatives, if possible.
We’re joining a large coalition of organizations who are experts in diversity and inclusion in the computing education community, including America on Tech, AccessComputing, American Indian Science & Engineering Society, AnitaB.org, blackcomputeHER, Code2040, CodePath.org, Computing Alliance of Hispanic Serving Institutions, CSforALL, Girls Make Games, Girls Who Code International Game Developers Association, Lesbians Who Tech, National Center for Women & IT, National Society of Black Engineers, Non-Traditional Techies, Out in STEM, SHPE, Society of Women Engineers, and Wallbreakers.com.
To learn more, read the entire open letter calling on employers to consider interns as stakeholders in their COVID-19 contingency planning.