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Centering Partnerships in Trust and Full-Spectrum Support: A Story from Code the Dream

At PagerDuty, we are in the business of operationalizing trust. Our technology platform is the central nervous system for our customers’ digital operations and at PagerDuty.org, the social impact arm of PagerDuty, we apply this trust-based approach with all of our stakeholders. We mobilize company-wide assets — philanthropic giving, product, volunteer and technical pro bono support, and voice — centered on the needs of our social impact partners. On this Giving Tuesday, we’re shining a spotlight on one of our partners — Code the Dream. Code the Dream envisions a world where the U.S. technology industry reflects the nation’s diverse population and whose diverse talent is tapped to solve our greatest challenges. Their innovative model involves recruiting people from diverse and low-income backgrounds, providing them with the training to build mobile and web apps, and offering them paid apprenticeships that launch their tech careers. The socioeconomic impact of Code the Dream’s programs is multifold — not only do the apps their students build solve real world problems, the students (and their families and communities) experience improved economic outcomes. 

We first connected with Code the Dream through our vaccine equity funding round in 2021. Code the Dream received an unrestricted grant from PagerDuty.org to scale Vamos Outreach, a mobile and desktop app that assists outreach workers in supporting migrant and seasonal farmworkers in the United States. Migrant and seasonal farm workers are essential to the U.S. economy and food production, making up an estimated 73% of agriculture workers in the U.S. However, they’ve been at a heightened risk of COVID-19 outbreaks and lack access to vaccines and culturally resonant information about the vaccines. Over the past year, Code the Dream has updated features and scaled the Vamos app to six states across the U.S. helping farmwork outreach workers share critical information about vaccines with farm workers and creating more paid apprenticeships for Code the Dream students. 

Beyond the check and beyond the grant 

We seek to shift power to our partners by anchoring our support trust-based practices and a full-spectrum approach. This means that we engage in frequent and ongoing conversations to find creative ways to support the needs of our partners. For Code the Dream, this meant initiating an open dialogue to understand Code the Dream’s needs and connecting their team with PagerDuty employees to volunteer as mentors to their students. Through our support for their vaccine equity work, we elevated Code the Dream leaders at major PagerDuty events such as our annual company kickoff and product development conference. PagerDuty employees created “bite-sized” career advice videos to answer Code the Dream students’ questions on acing job interviews, crafting the perfect resume, building technical problem solving skills and confidence, asking for a raise, and navigating a job in corporate tech. Says Daisy Magnus-Aryitey, co-executive director, about our partnership. “PagerDuty’s support has enabled our apprentices to update our Vamos app, which many organizations have used to reach migrant farmworkers to provide access to COVID-19 vaccines. Our students have been motivated with the guidance and advice from PagerDuty volunteers. With this kind of multi-dimensional support, we are closer to Code the Dream’s vision of a world in which tech innovation comes from all of us and benefits all of us.”

Over the past year, as PagerDuty’s partnership with Code the Dream has deepened from grant funding to pro bono volunteerism to brand elevation, we’ve evolved from an initial focus on vaccine equity to a broader partnership to support Code the Dream’s goals. While our grant period is complete, PagerDuty employees continue to volunteer as mentors for Code the Dream SKILL-IT program which supports people looking to pivot careers or build on existing coding, web, and app development skills. As part of this program, PagerDuty employees have hosted monthly sessions on tech topics like navigating imposter syndrome in corporate tech, finding your way in new workplaces, and the best career advice ever received.

PagerDuty employees equally benefit from our volunteer partnership. They’ve been inspired to learn about the Code the Dream students’ journeys and continue to give back because they are committed to diversifying the technology industry to influence how technology is built. Solomon Tolosa, a software engineer at PagerDuty, has been volunteering as a mentor for Code the Dream and said, “I connected with a lot of students juggling full or part-time work, raising their families, and studying. Having a good mentor can be a game changer and make a huge difference in a student’s efforts to launch their career in the tech industry. I’m grateful to Code the Dream for giving me the opportunity to be a part of their students’ journeys.”

It takes a village 

Code the Dream is on a mission to provide a path to a life-changing career in tech for young people from diverse backgrounds and low-resourced communities, impacting not only the lives of the students but also their communities. Help a student from an underrepresented background become a software developer this Giving Tuesday by:

  1. Giving Your Time: Code the Dream succeeds because of their volunteers. You can learn more about available volunteer opportunities and sign up at Code the Dream’s website.
  2. Making a Donation: Each $50 donation helps Code the Dream connect one student with one hour of mentorship with a professional developer.