Black Professionals in Tech Network shares action plan on supporting Black workers amid COVID-19

woc in tech

The Black Professionals in Tech Network (BPTN), a network for young Black professionals in tech and business, has launched an action plan aimed to support Black professionals during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The task force’s long-term goal is to offer a virtual campus for both Black professionals and tech companies.

The plan was developed by a task force created in May, co-chaired by executives from companies like Salesforce, Tableau and TD Bank. The new action plan was shared at BPTN’s virtual tech summit this week.

The group has built a three-tiered action plan aimed to help reduce the impact of COVID-19 on Black professionals working in the tech industry.

With over 10,000 members, BPTN is a tech network that aims to bridge the networking gap in the tech industry. It provides Black tech and business professionals with access to senior executive sponsorship, skill-building, and a strong peer network to support professional growth and advancement.

Recently, a number of Canadian tech startups and innovation organizations signed onto BPTN, including Top Hat, Hootsuite, Rangle.io, PointClickCare, and MaRS Discovery District.

Data collected over the last six months indicate underrepresented professionals in Canada’s tech community are experiencing devastating impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Statistics Canada, the unemployment rate among Black Canadians reached 17.3 percent in July, nearly double that of white Canadians.

BPTN’s task force recently put together an action plant to address the issues disproportionately faced by Black tech professionals. The plan comprises three tiers, with the first being to launch a task force, which was done in May, as well as create and promote an online self-assessment tool for tech companies and leaders. This tool, which BPTN is calling the Periodic Table, would synthesize, categorize, and ultimately raise awareness of what actions are needed to remove anti-Black racism in tech.

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The Periodic Table is aimed to allow companies to self-assess their internal performance when it comes to inclusion, provide best practices, and allow companies to indicate they need more help in combating anti-Black racism.

The second tier of BPTN’s action plan is to build a “virtual campus” for Black tech workers to connect and develop new skills. The virtual campus, which BPTN said would be based on the websites Fairygodboss and Network of Executive Women, would include a resource and information hub, masterclasses, fireside chats, events, and programming.

The task force’s third and long-term goal is to fully integrate the virtual campus from the second tier of the action plan with the Periodic Table in the first tier, so the new website can be targeted to both Black professionals and tech companies. In 2021, BPTN expects to launch a platform promoting job opportunities, events, networking, mentoring, as well as self-assessment capabilities for tech companies.

Image source Unsplash. Photo by Christina – WOC in Tech Chat.

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle Kirkwood

Writer, globetrotter, drone pilot & David Attenborough enthusiast