Education, Technology

Jay-Z’s Music Engineer Launches #TechToWealth Tour In Atlanta

The Flatiron School is offering $1 million in scholarships each year to students of color. A new campus opened in Atlanta last month.
The Flatiron School is offering $1 million in scholarships each year to students of color. A new campus opened in Atlanta last month.
Credit Courtesy of the Flatiron School

Ahead of Jay-Z and Beyoncé’s concerts in Atlanta this weekend, Jay-Z’s music engineer is promoting technology careers for people of color.

Gimel Keaton, stage name Young Guru, launched the #TechtoWealthTour, offering more than $1 million in scholarships for students of color to learn coding.

The initiative is a partnership between Young Guru, the Opportunity Hub and the Flatiron School.

Richard Welke is the founding director of the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Institute and former chair of the computer information systems department at Georgia State University. Welke said the tech industry needs more diversity.

The goals of the initiative include getting more people of color into higher-paying tech jobs, which could help minorities build wealth, and increasing diversity in the tech/coding industry. (Courtesy of the Flatiron School)

“Partly, it’s an economic need. Minorities of all stripes tend to have good ideas, good value propositions, but then when it comes to execution, they are having to rely on a smaller community of coders or people who think like coders because a lot of this gets executed in the digital realm. So having more individuals participate in the back end, and the more diverse that population can be, the better,” Welke said.

Welke said it’s a viewpoint that’s largely missing right now.

“Embedded in code is culture and ethics as we are rapidly discovering with many social media sites,” Welke said. “So those things also should be reflected by the populations that they represent.”

Young Guru said getting more people of color in higher-paying tech jobs could help minorities build wealth and contribute a perspective in the field that is lacking today.

“The point of doing this tour is to spread the word about the scholarships so that people can get interested in coding and show people that these are viable jobs for you,” Young Guru said. “We need that diversity.”

Young Guru said the goal is to sign up 10,000 people of color by next year.

Rodney Sampson is the CEO of the Opportunity Hub, an entrepreneurship center in Atlanta.

“We want to make sure that the people who get access to these scholarships cannot afford to pay full tuition,” Sampson said. “We want to help close the wealth gap here in America.”

CORRECTION: This report has been updated with the correct spelling of Gimel Keaton’s name.