We’re pleased to share that Data Science for All (DS4A) is among the honorees in Fast Company magazine’s sixth annual awards program.
Correlation One has helped thousands of professionals who identify as Black, Hispanic / LatinX, LGBTQ+, and/or Women jumpstart their careers in data analytics, data science, and data engineering through our Data Science for All (DS4A) training-to-jobs programs.
And now we’re pleased to announce that Fast Company magazine has taken notice, recognizing our DS4A training program in their 2022 World Changing Ideas Awards.
A panel of Fast Company editors and reporters recognized DS4A in the Education category from a field of 2,997 entries overall that supported "the growth of positive social innovation, tackling social inequality, climate change, and public health crises” during the previous year.
We’re grateful for the recognition and the opportunity to share the DS4A story with a global audience.
As Correlation One Co-Founder and Co-CEO Shamsudeen Mustafa explains, “DS4A pairs technical training, professional development, and mentorship with truly merit-based program access for talented individuals from traditionally underrepresented or marginalized groups.”
As of spring 2022, there are four programs bearing the distinctive DS4A brand:
Although each program has a slightly different focus, they share significant commonalities. Chief among them is Correlation One’s core commitment to provide data training 100% free-to-learners.
“Our novel approach helps companies both hire data talent from historically underrepresented groups and/or upskill their own workforce to meet analytics needs,” said Rasheed Sabar, Co-Founder and Co-CEO. “Unlike smaller bootcamp-style initiatives, we do not place financial costs upon the learners. Nor are we constrained by geography.”
“We are consistently inspired by the novelty and creativity that people are applying to solve some of our society’s most pressing problems … Fast Company relishes its role in amplifying important, innovative work to address big challenges,” said David Lidsky, the magazine’s interim editor-in-chief.
Equity gaps in the technology sector – and in data-focused job families specifically – are a threat to the future of work and society at large.
Across industries, there are chronic representation gaps for Women, BIPOC, Hispanic / LatinX and LGBTQ+ in data-centric professions. Meanwhile, demand for data scientists, data engineers, and data analysts is rising as more business decisions are made using data and predictive analytics.
Without proper representation, unconscious bias is a real threat to any data team. A non-representative workforce is less likely to consider the potential adverse impact of data solutions or question the biases inherent in the data itself. As companies increasingly look to data science to inform decisions about their products, marketing, and engagement strategies they need to ensure that they are not alienating communities of consumers.
“The disconnect between real-world needs of talent and industry not only reinforce economic inequities for individuals and groups but also hamstring organizations,” said Mustafa. “In an increasingly technical, data-driven marketplace, companies need high-caliber talent capable of bringing diverse insights to complex business problems.”
Solving such a complex and widespread problem requires significant partnership between industry leaders
DS4A is supported by a growing community of the world’s foremost employers. Enterprises like Johnson & Johnson, Walmart, Accenture, Point72, Capital One, Citadel, and Target have leaned into the DS4A mission by providing financial support, guidance for our job-readiness curricula, and volunteers to serve as Mentors to DS4A students (“Fellows”).
Together, Correlation One and our DS4A Employer Partners have inspired over 100,000 students and professionals to apply to become part of the DS4A data talent community.
Through their support, Employer Partners are able to hire program Alumni. To date, 87% of our DS4A graduates have achieved a career outcome 12 months after graduation.
In addition to providing DS4A Fellows with marketable data skills, Correlation One also supports their career development during the multi-week DS4A training. Plus, we work to connect them with Employer Partners for mentoring, internships, and job opportunities – and celebrate their achievements via our LinkedIn page.
“It’s a simple fact that the current university system is failing prospective data talent from underrepresented groups,” said Sabar.
Rising tuition and fees increasingly outpace what many people – especially members of racial and ethnic minority groups that have historically experienced significant economic inequality – can afford.
That’s why DS4A is provided 100% free-to-learner.
There is no tuition.
There is no income share agreement.
And there is no secret “fine print.”
For those who qualify, DS4A is a no-strings-attached pathway to a better career and a brighter future.
To qualify to become a DS4A Fellow, candidates must complete rigorous, skill-based assessments designed to identify talented candidates who – despite perhaps having been overlooked or ignored due to biased screening processes or structural inequities – will succeed in DS4A training and on the job.
“Using a synchronous, cohort-based, intensive program facilitated by top-tier educators from the world’s most-renowned universities, we're preparing talent with exceptional training for the jobs of tomorrow,” said Mustafa.
Through technology, we’re able to provide virtual training that engages adult learners from around the country to participate in DS4A and build community. Plus, our rigorous screening process means that our data science trainees are more advanced than students in most boot camps. DS4A sessions only take place on Saturdays, which is a more humane approach to training that makes the program more accessible to full-time employees and college students alike.
DS4A training prepares graduates for a range of data-based careers, from internships to senior management roles. At the same time, we work closely with enterprise leaders to refine coursework and training to prepare Fellows optimally for what they'll encounter in the workplace.
“Our career services staff provides invaluable coaching and guidance on everything from resume writing to interviewing so that graduates are prepared to conduct an effective job search,” said Mustafa.
These distinct DS4A programmatic features elevate the training from one focused solely on core skills to one that is more holistic and forward-thinking.
Plus, in addition to our professional development curricula, each DS4A Fellow is paired with a volunteer professional Mentor. Meeting for about an hour each week, these conversations help Fellows connect the dots between classroom and real-world data.
“It’s one thing to receive a little training and land a job. It’s quite another to have significant experiences that result in a new professional network, relationships through which one may continue to find advancement opportunities for years to come,” said Sabar.
Yes, in pairing the career development support that we provide with opportunities to interact with professionals through mentoring and private webinars, we’re also nurturing a rapidly expanding DS4A network. By facilitating these connections, we’re helping Fellows fill crucial social capital gaps that are a key factor in who gets a job offer and who does not.
“Again, more than identifying and helping talent acquire essential data skills, we work hard to connect DS4A Fellows with Mentors as well as job and internship opportunities,” said Sabar. “In other words, we intentionally connect Fellows and Alumni to industry – and vice versa – in ways that scaffold everyone’s success.”
On the road to democratizing the future of work, we’ve only just begun. Moving forward, we want to grow the size and scope of the DS4A Employer Partner footprint.
“While many organizations are seeking new talent to build their data science, data engineering, and data analytics capabilities, we’ve begun to help employers such as Amazon train current employees in skills that can transform their careers,” said Mustafa. “We’re also exploring how we can advance workforce development with other digital skills, as we’ve done with our Anaplan for All initiative.”
Interested in helping Correlation One bridge the opportunity gap to tomorrow’s data-driven jobs? Learn more now.