Getting Connected: Bay Area Young Men Employment Partnership Career Summit

On Tuesday October 17th, Microsoft participated in the Bay Area Young Men Employment Partnership (BAYEP) Career Summit. An initiative started in 2016, BAYEP brings together a coalition of organizations like the Bay Area Council, Leaders Up, and others to address one problem: the fast-growing unemployment rates among young men of color.

The Career Summit, held in Oakland, California, was the largest hiring event in the San Francisco Bay Area with 411 attendees, 340 trained, and 281 hired. Additionally, it’s the starting point for BAYEP’s continued 12-18 months of professional development support to ensure participating hiring managers and young adults hired are mutually successful—a key feature of the program.

As Oakland’s Mayor, Libby Schaaf, says, “The BAYEP Career Pathway Summit is a key piece of our collective efforts to ensure that the most vulnerable members of our population are getting connected to viable career pathways, and that employers across our region are building a workforce that reflects the talent and diversity in our communities.”

With this shared value in mind, Microsoft was compelled to not only participate but also sponsor Generation Tech Zone, a tech-centered experience to expose young men of color to the best ways to use and integrate technology to manage their time, schedules and professional development learning goals. We leveraged the best of our talent and resources to make this happen with a full day of scheduled activities at the summit.

Microsoft Device Bar & Office Suite Training

Microsoft started the day with a device bar experience and hosted Office Suite sessions to train participants on how to incorporate key applications into their personal and professional lives. These efforts were led by Community Development Specialist Jen Limos and her team from Microsoft stores. They brought nearly 20 devices including: the brand-new Surface Studio, Surface Pros, Surface Books, Microsoft VIVE VR technology, and a Razer gaming device.

Talk to Tech Session

Young men of color at the summit also engaged with Technical Recruiter Ebitie Amughan and Microsoft Store Representative Mariel Aguilar-Ruiz about technical and non-technical roles and learned what it’s like to work for a major tech influencer.

Professional Headshots

In the job search, presentation matters. That said, Microsoft was proud to partner with LinkedIn to maximize our presence and contribution to BAYEP.  LinkedIn’s Tony Chung, associate photographer of LinkedIn Media Productions, took professional headshots for summit attendees. He took photos and delivered them via email—encouraging young people to update their LinkedIn profiles and work materials.

HoloLens and 3D Printer Demo

We were also keen on showcasing the company’s latest technology. To help us do this, Microsoft’s Tech Evangelists Christine Matheney and Tim Reilly brought AR technology in the form of four HoloLens devices to demonstrate the power of computer science and software development. They also brought two 3D printing devices and created mini puppies to put on display.

Men in Tech Panel

The Microsoft team even had a center-stage opportunity. Our very own William Adams, Technical Advisor to the CTO, represented his work on diversity hiring in tech. He was joined on a panel by Songe LaRon, CEO and Co-founder at Squire; Mike T. Brown, Founder and CEO of Win-Win; and Stephan Adams, President at William specifically highlighted the efforts of Microsoft’s Leap program, an immersive, 15-week diversity program that provides participants with real-world development experience. William Adams strongly encouraged participants at the career summit to apply. Several approached him after his panel to learn more about the opportunity. You can watch the entire panel on Facebook Live here.

Microsoft Garage Workshop

Microsoft’s time at the career summit was closed by Kenny Spade from the Microsoft Garage team. He led three hardware programming workshops where participants built Arduino Theremin devices. A Theremin-like device controls the pitch and volume of a musical note.

A huge thanks to everyone across Microsoft that helped make this important contribution a reality. Diversity makes us stronger and supporting initiatives like BAYEP goes a long way in identifying untapped potential.

About the Bay Area Young Men of Color Employment Partnership (BAYEP)

BAYEP is a regional initiative comprised of the Bay Area Council, LeadersUp, PolicyLink, United Way Bay Area and the Urban Strategies Council. BAYEP collaborates with employers, community-based organizations, young adults, policy makers and advocates across the San Francisco Bay Area in helping to build career pathways for one of the fastest growing populations facing the highest unemployment rates in California – boys and young men of color.

Kate O’Sullivan is the general manager of External Affairs within Microsoft’s Corporate, External and Legal Affairs Department. In this role, Kate leads global public policy campaigns and engagement with industry partners and other key stakeholders across legal and regulatory policy initiatives.

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