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AWS partners with NPower to boost jobs for women of color in tech

Command Shift will find tech jobs for underserved group

Black woman and Black man in a server room

Amazon Web Services (AWS) has co-founded a national US initiative with nonprofit NPower to foster more opportunities for women of color in tech.

The initiative, called Command Shift, brings together several companies to try and bridge tech's diversity gap by opening up more opportunities for women of color in the industry. NPower, a nonprofit that helps veterans and young adults from underserved communities find careers in tech, hopes to broaden recruitment practices with Command Shift to target women of color trained in technology but haven't yet attended college.

NPower said very little data is available on the employment of people in this group in the tech industry. It will work with labor market analytics company Burning Glass to research opportunities in tech companies for this demographic and encourage pay equity for women of color. It will also offer free IT certification training, it added.

AWS joins Citi Foundation, Comcast NBCUniversal, Guardian Life, Netscout, Vodafone Americas Foundation, Tata Consultancy Services, World Wide Technology, and others in co-founding the program.

AWS has appointed its head of global inclusion and DEI LaDavia Drane to the board. This is the second large diversity collaboration that it announced this month, as AWS also joined the Dream Collective to launch SheDares, an interactive learning program for women who want to change careers or return to the workforce.

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AWS has battled recent allegations of gender and race discrimination after corporate employee Charlotte Newman sued the company and two of its executives for allegedly violating the Equality Pay Act. Newman, who was formerly economic policy advisor to Senator Cory Booker, had been a senior manager at the company since 2017. She also accused managers at AWS of sexual assault.

Amazon's latest diversity figures showed that 67.9% of its US workforce was non-white, while 50.5% was female. Those figures fell to 53% and 31.4% respectively when looking at corporate employees. Among people managers, 43.6% of US employees were non-white, while 29% were female. Just 29.3% of senior leaders were people of color, while 22.8% were women. The figures didn't break out representation in computing-related jobs.

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