As a leading digital consultancy with more than 4,500 global colleagues, Perficient is committed to expanding the expertise of each colleague and creating more opportunities for career growth in the communities where we live and work. We recently announced Perficient’s Bright Paths program – a new initiative designed to advance STEM education and career opportunities for underrepresented constituencies and communities.
Tom and Andrea, thanks for the opportunity to discuss this great initiative. Could you talk more about the Bright Paths program and what we aim to achieve?
Tom: First, let me start by saying, we’re thrilled to announce the Bright Paths program! Perficient’s people define our success. Day in and day out, our colleagues are contributing their unique expertise to deliver end-to-end digital solutions for our clients – some of the world’s biggest brands. We’ve long believed that the best companies are ones that invest in the professional growth of every colleague while embracing their individual backgrounds, voices, and perspectives.
We also believe that diversity and inclusion are constant pursuits. For too long, the tech industry has fallen short in creating opportunities for underrepresented constituencies and communities. We recognize that the responsibility to help drive equity throughout the broader industry falls on us. That’s the crux of Bright Paths – a program that educates historically underrepresented groups and creates more equitable career opportunities in our global communities.
Andrea: Those are great points, Tom. I’d add that there’s extensive documentation addressing the challenges faced by women and minority communities within the tech industry. Yet, despite increased focus, employment figures remain stubbornly low. In fact, research shows that the number of women serving as computing professionals has experienced a long period of decline. Through our Bright Paths program, we’re committed to bringing more diverse insights and skillsets into the conversation and driving true innovation forward. This, while also closing the gap in opportunities for STEM careers and education across our communities.
So how does Bright Paths work? What can someone who would like to participate expect?
Tom: We’re partnering with Strategic Education Inc. (SEI) to create relevant learning experiences that will prepare participants for the workforce. SEI is an education services company focused on advancing economic mobility for working adults through various pathways including Strayer University, DevMountain, Generation Code, and Hackbright Academy, among others.
Perficient is fully funding the Bright Paths training programs in order to provide opportunities to ambitious, deserving, and committed candidates who otherwise might be unable to pursue them.
Our first Bright Paths training program will take place in Detroit in partnership with SEI’s Hackbright Academy, an all-women’s coding bootcamp and software engineering program. We’ll be launching the program next March, which will include up to 25 women who will attend a fully-paid, customized coding bootcamp. By the end of the program, our goal is to extend a number of qualified graduates a full-time job at Perficient in the software engineering and development field, where the new colleagues will partner with one of the world’s largest enterprises based in the Detroit metro area.
Andrea: Participants can expect to attend a full-time software engineering course where they will learn Python in 10-14 weeks. Regardless of their background, we invite any woman who’s interested in working in tech to consider applying. We’re looking for opportunistic and creative candidates who are results-driven, analytical, detail-oriented, and have an insatiable desire to learn new skills and grow their careers. We are now accepting applications. More information about the Perficient-sponsored Hackbright Academy in Detroit, including applications, can be found on the program landing page.
Our Bright Paths program in Detroit is just the beginning. Our hope is to introduce similar programs aimed at educating individuals and creating opportunities in the communities where we operate. Perficient is located in more than 30 communities across the world, so we think there is ample opportunity to scale Bright Paths in the future.
What inspired Perficient to pursue a training program through the lens of diversity and inclusion?
Tom: Our people. Perficient is a company full of phenomenally talented people. Our colleagues are the best in the business, and creating a workplace that helps develop their skills while challenging them to expand their potential is a critical component to our growth. In fact, we believe in our people so strongly that they are a central focus of our Core Values – “We treasure talent, embrace effort and reward results. We cultivate a culture that challenges and champions great people.”
When we looked inward to our own people and the opportunities available at Perficient, we realized we could focus our efforts externally to nurture the same passion for knowledge.
Andrea: We also believe innovation is best achieved when every perspective is considered. Our people inspire us, and having a mature development program requires us to look outward to the communities where we live and work and evaluate how we can do more. The Bright Paths program is one of the ways we are investing in our communities to further cultivate opportunities where they may not have existed before.
It was great to talk with you all today about the Bright Paths program. Any final thoughts?
Tom: We believe so strongly that this program can help address employment inequalities too often found in our industry, and we’re making investments to ensure progress happens. We’re confident that our Bright Paths program will bring more opportunities to deserving individuals. We believe Perficient colleagues are the best and brightest in the industry, and we’re thrilled to be able to provide an opportunity for women to not only grow their STEM careers, but to join our highly skilled and innovative workforce.
Andrea: I’m so proud to be part of an organization that is prioritizing efforts to resolve inequalities found throughout the industry. At Perficient, we often say that we are champions of our people in their career growth. Now with Bright Paths, we can confidently and proudly say that we are doing the same in our communities. Together, we’re driving real change in our industry while fostering a workplace for everyone.
At Perficient, we continually look for ways to champion and challenge our talented workforce with interesting projects for high-profile clients, encourage personal and professional growth through training and mentoring, and celebrate our people-oriented culture and the innovative ways they serve Perficient and the community.