Worst kept secret: the tech industry is very white and very male. This tired and toxic dynamic has isolated many and relegated many more to the sidelines. Well, we can all breathe a sigh of relief, Onyx Valley founded by Kyree Holmes in 2016, is working to dismantle this outdated structure by helping college students, recent grads, and up-and-coming professionals from diverse backgrounds and underrepresented groups to join the design community. Students are introduced to career possibilities through their specialized programming, which teaches design through culturally themed projects.
Perhaps the thing that makes Onyx Valley so unique is the commitment to serve as an inclusive community builder. Onyx Valley shows creatives how they can translate their passion into a sustainable career in technology. Although a fairly new organization, they have already hosted several events over the past year, including their first capstone program held in May, an intensive week-long bootcamp to help students produce a creative portfolio. Students completed four projects as part of the program, focusing on the theme “Designing for Safe Spaces," which was inspired by recent events at a downtown Philadelphia Starbucks involving two African-American men being arrested for loitering. Students created projects that involved using technology to organize boycotts and promote communication between the police and communities.
Recently they launched the next arm of programming, Onyx Valley Studios, a student-led design consulting agency. In OVS, students can either address real-life challenges provided by a client or incubate an idea for a product, such as an app, that the students create themselves.
Founder, Holmes was also selected for the Emerging City Champions fellowship, which comes with a grant and support for future Onyx Valley projects.
How You Can Get Involved?
Campus Ambassadors // They are also looking for campus reps, to help build visibility, manage activities and events, and promote the mission to drive diversity and representation in the tech industry on college campuses. Application Deadline is October 15.
Slide into the DM's // Are you a student, educator, or employer interested in participating in one of our events? Would you like Onyx Valley to host an event for your group? Contact them today to learn more.
Stay up-to-date with Onyx Valley
- twitter/instagram - @onyx_valley
- facebook - facebook.com/onyx.valley.project