Was President Obama in town? Was it the Star Wars premiere?
Nope — it was the Berkeley Startup Job Fair! Over 1,000 people turned up on Thursday night for the Berkeley Startup Job Fair at NextSpace, with a line wrapping around the corner, stretching two city blocks long. Everyone waiting had one thing on their mind: the hope of landing a job at the next big startup.
The event, which was a collaboration between Localwise and the City of Berkeley’s Office Economic Development, focused on promoting diversity at startups.
The current state of diversity in tech is alarming. At large tech companies, only 29% of the employees are women and only 15% are black or Hispanic. We don't have good data on diversity at smaller startups, but I imagine it's similar.
While many forums address the problem through discussion, the job fair hit the heart of the issue — jobs.
We partnered with local organizations such as #YesWeCode, Black Girls Code, Lesbians Who Tech, Code2040 and many more in order to engage a diverse group of job seekers.
Thirty startups, such as LeadGenius, Massdrop, Josephine, Captricity, and Dray Technologies, were on site accepting resumes.
Along with the startups, the job fair also featured:
- Resume review by local career coaches Julia Silbergeld, Tom Ballantyne, Kellin Defiel, and Hilary Romanoff. This turned out to be one of the most popular parts of the event!
- Professional headshots by Passion Projects Productions
- Representatives from Code Berkeley (the first state-funded technology bootcamp in California) and Telegraph Academy (a coding bootcamp for people of color)
- Locally-made snacks & drinks from Kuli Kuli, Black Medicine, and Uptown Juice Company
- Appearance by Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates and California State Senator Loni Hancock
To everyone who attended: thank you for braving the crowds and long line.
To everyone who could not get in: we offer our sincerest apologies and promise to get a larger venue next time.
If you are still looking for a job at a startup, be sure to check out the TechUP Career Fair on February 27th, hosted by our friends over at Lesbians Who Tech.
The Berkeley Startup Job Fair is one of many important steps to address the issue of a lack of diversity in tech. We will continue to build on the momentum of this event through our online job community, which connects Bay Area residents to jobs at local businesses, startups, and nonprofits.