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Diversity Digest: February 21

At WTIA, we believe diverse representation is crucial to moving the tech industry forward. This roundup of local and national stories will give you an idea of which way the needle is moving.

CEOs of Seattle Area’s Biggest Companies: We Need More Housing for the Middle Class

Seattle Times | Mike Rosenberg | January 30, 2019

“The CEOs of King County’s largest businesses — from Amazon and Boeing to Starbucks and Nordstrom — are pushing for more housing for middle-income workers at a time when professionals like nurses, teachers and cops are increasingly being priced out and new housing is aimed mostly at higher earners.

Challenge Seattle, a group of 17 local CEOs led by former Gov. Christine Gregoire, released a report Wednesday that amounts to a call for action on more housing aimed at households making between $54,000 and $108,000 (or less for individuals). The group also includes the chief executives of Microsoft, Costco, Zillow, Weyerhaeuser, Alaska Airlines, Expedia and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, among others.”

United by Purpose: How Diversity Drives Innovation at These 4 Seattle Tech Companies

Built In Seattle | Quiten Dol | January 30, 2019

“We all know that teams are more successful when they include a diverse array of personality types, cultures, genders and backgrounds. And in the tech industry, where competition for talent and market share is fiercer than ever, the edge that comes from diverse and inclusive teams couldn’t be more important.

We spoke to representatives in a variety of roles at four tech companies throughout Puget Sound about how they’re making sure their teams remain welcoming to all and, in doing so, maintain an advantage over their competitors.”

H-1B Changes Will Simplify Application Process

TechCrunch | Danny Crichton | February 1, 2019

“The federal government yesterday published the final rule for changes to the H-1B visa program, which is one of the primary conduits for technical talent to come and work in the United States.

There are two key changes coming with the rule. First, the government will require applicants for an H-1B visa to electronically register with the immigration office for the H-1B lottery before they submit their applications or documentation, starting in 2020…Under the new rule that will be in force for the 2020 H-1B process (i.e. two years from now), applicants will first register with USCIS electronically, which will process the lottery. If selected in the lottery, an applicant would then be invited to submit their application and supporting materials. The idea is that you only have to do all the work of applying when there is an actual slot available.”

Former WalMart Executive Rosalind Brewer Joins Amazon Board

Seattle Times | Benjamin Romano | February 4, 2019

“Amazon tapped former Walmart and current Starbucks executive Rosalind G. Brewer for its board of directors…Brewer brings the number of women on Amazon’s 10-person board to four, joining Jamie Gorelick, Judith McGrath and Patricia Stonesifer. Corporate boards remain male-dominated. Only one third of companies in the S&P 500 had three or more women on their boards in 2018, according to research compiled by Catalyst, a nonprofit advocating for women in leadership.

Women of color represented 6.2 percent of S&P 500 directors. Brewer is the second African-American woman selected for Amazon’s board. Myrtle Potter, a pharmaceuticals executive, was on the company’s board from 2004 to 2009.”

Report Reveals Best (And Worst) Cities for Becoming a U.S. Citizen, and Where the Tech Hubs Stand

GeekWire | Todd Bishop | February 4, 2019

“U.S. immigration law, policy and practices are national, in theory, but where immigrants live can noticeably impact their efforts to become U.S. citizens.

That’s the underlying conclusion of a new report from Seattle-based startup Boundless Immigration, released Monday morning, which ranks major metro areas across the country by ‘relative ease of naturalization.’ The report finds that ‘barriers to becoming a U.S. citizen have gotten worse over time, and are not evenly distributed across the country.’”

Amazon’s NYC Educational Investments Will Continue, Despite Cancellation of New York HQ2

TechCrunch | Sarah Perez | February 14, 2019

“Amazon’s plans to invest in New York-area engineering training programs and other local educational initiatives are not being canceled, despite Amazon’s announcement today that it will no longer open one of its HQ2 locations in New York City...Amazon said it would fund computer science classes in more than 130 New York City-area high schools…The classes would be offered across all five NYC boroughs, including more than 30 schools in Queens — the planned location for the new headquarters…Amazon has not officially commented on how the HQ2 news will impact these programs in New York, but sources familiar with the situation told TechCrunch that both educational programs are continuing — regardless of what’s happened with HQ2.”

Seattle Mayor Forms Student Internship Program with Amazon, Expedia and Other Employers

GeekWire | Monica Nickelsburg | February 19, 2019

“Two of Seattle’s biggest tech companies are signing onto a new paid internship program for college students launched by Mayor Jenny Durkan.

Amazon, Expedia, and other employers in the area will help the mayor develop a pilot for Opportunity Promise, a program that places students in paid internships and apprenticeships. Labor groups and Seattle colleges will work with the employers to develop the program…‘We all benefit when Seattle kids get the opportunity to be world class workers,’ Durkan said.”

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