12 professional organizations advancing DEI values in tech
The tech industry is actively expanding its diversity and inclusion initiatives. Joining professional organizations for diversity and inclusion can help you advance your career and build a professional network.
Ongoing efforts to increase diversity and inclusion in the technology industry saw relative stagnation in mid-2020. Alongside professional organizations in the technology sector, top technology companies like Microsoft and Facebook have doubled down on diversity initiatives.
Organizations that center diversity and inclusion for technology professionals include field-focused associations with programs designed to promote equal opportunities. There are also advocacy organizations for individuals with common ethnic, cultural, and historical backgrounds that work to advance the needs and rights of specific groups and individuals in technology.
Professional organizations for diversity and inclusion unite like-minded individuals to champion a common cause. To find out more about opportunities to participate in diversity-related efforts in tech, read on to learn about the most active DEI groups in the tech workforce today.
Organizations for racial minorities in tech
Organizations for racial minorities in technology provide STEM scholarships, educational programs, and networking opportunities for their members.
American Indian Science and Engineering Society
Dedicated to increasing the number of Indigenous people in STEM, AISES includes members from over 200 tribal nations. Its focus areas emphasize pre-college awareness and retention, college access and success, professional leadership and change, and strategic partnerships and research.
AISES hosts an extensive resource center on its website, with additional job listings, career development opportunities, and award programs to facilitate the growth of strong academic and professional networks for Indigenous people.
As the largest professional technology organization for Blacks, African Americans, and other people of color in the United States, BDPA traces its origins to 1975. BDPA's programs include the student information technology education scholarship, designed to equip students with computer skills.
Dedicated to advancing tech careers for underrepresented groups from the classroom to the boardroom, BDPA also offers educational programs, networking opportunities, and career resources to college-aged individuals, adults, and professionals.
Blacks in Technology Foundation
BIT, the largest community of Black people in technology, aims to address the underrepresentation of Black tech professionals in the workforce. BIT hosts a career fair series, student and career development mentorship programs, and access to scholarships for members. There are BIT chapters across the United States. The organization also has thriving partnerships with companies like Google, Disney, and Meta.
National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering (NACME)
Envisioning an engineering workforce that mirrors the diversity of the United States, NACME provides scholarships to underrepresented minorities pursuing degrees at schools of engineering. NACME offers over $3 million in scholarships annually by partnering with educational institutions and corporate sponsors.
Additional programs include a career accelerator academy in science and engineering, an executive speaker series, career placement assistance, and research and publication initiatives.
Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS)
By supporting Chicano, Hispanic, and Indigenous American students and professionals in STEM, SACNAS seeks to bring diversity to the technology industry. SACNAS's network has over 8,000 members.
SACNAS offers its members leadership programs, webinars, annual conferences, and regional meetings. Members, called SACNISTAS, do not have to be Chicano, Hispanic, or Indigenous American to join.
Organizations for women in tech
With specific programs like scholarships for women in STEM, career mentorships, and professional development resources, organizations for women in tech increase opportunities and retention for women across STEM fields.
The National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT)
Chartered in 2004, NCWIT aims to advance computing innovation by correcting the underrepresentation of women. Since 2013, NCWIT has provided instruction to more than 14,200 girls. The organization also supports computing students at K-12 and higher education institutions across the US.
The organization hosts workforce programs and provides resources and toolkits for educators and employees that promote cultural change and mentor students of all ages.
Wonder Women Tech (WWT)
WWT embraces women from all cultural backgrounds and underrepresented groups in its mission to cultivate equity, access, and opportunity across STEM and the arts. WWT hosts immersive summits and career fairs, leadership and belonging retreats, and junior innovation camps alongside online resources such as workshops, podcasts, and weekly virtual conversations. As of 2022, WWT expanded its conference offerings to support global initiatives.
Women in Technology International (WITI)
This organization has advocated for the inclusion of women in technology and business since 1989. WITI hosts platforms and programs to facilitate diversity and inclusion in the workplace. WITI's professional, corporate, and industry-based networks can access coaching and mentorship opportunities, virtual summits, a well-being center, and continuing education opportunities. The organization provides its members with the tools needed to cultivate and strengthen relationships among workers at all stages of their careers.
Organizations for LGBTQ+ people in tech
Professional organizations that support members of the LGBTQ+ community or focus on one subset of that group provide information technology scholarships, networking opportunities, and career resources.
Lesbians Who Tech
Lesbians Who Tech is dedicated to increasing the visibility of women, racial minorities, queer, transgender, and gender-neutral individuals in STEM. Allies are also encouraged to join the organization, which has roughly 70,000 members. Lesbians Who Tech hosts two summits annually, with noteworthy keynote speakers from politics, technology, sports, and business. Lesbians Who Tech also offers coding scholarships to help LGBTQ+ women and non-binary individuals enter the technology field.
Out in Tech
Out in Tech has 40,000 members who work together to grow networks, advance careers, and advocate for change and representation for LGBTQ+ people in technology. Out in Tech has chapters across the United States. Out in Tech offers Out in Tech U to educate the next generation of technology professionals. The organization also hosts Digital Corps, a program that provides web services to LGBTQ+ activists and social entrepreneurs worldwide.
Organizations for people with disabilities in tech
2Gether-International creates awareness of disability as an asset for businesses and entrepreneurs. 2Gether-International offers a disability startup network, accessible business education courses, and mentorship meetups. The tech cohort within 2Gether-International, supported by Google for Startups, brings together entrepreneurs with disabilities to focus on developing and pitching their ideas.
Blind Institute of Technology
BIT provides workforce services to professionals with disabilities by working with companies and businesses to recruit, train, and support people with disabilities in the workforce. BIT accepts candidates into its courses to prepare them for finding a job. The organization also offers accessibility empowerment programs to employers. Additionally, BIT offers professional development workshops, short training sessions, and online instruction to accommodate agile teams.
Fostering diversity and inclusion in technology requires cooperation among members of all groups. Professional organizations that advance diversity and inclusion can give you the tools and support to help you earn a degree or find a job in a tech-related field. Here are some exciting STEM degrees to explore:
Dr. Susana M. Muñoz is Associate Professor of higher education, Program Coordinator of the Higher Education Leadership (HEL) Program, and Co-Director of CSU initiatives for the Race and Intersectional Studies for Educational Equity (RISE) Center in the School of Education at Colorado State University (CSU). Her scholarly interests center on the experiences of minoritized populations in higher education. Specifically, Dr. Muñoz focuses her research on issues of equity, identity, and campus climate for undocumented Latinx students, while employing perspectives such as legal violence, racist nativism, Chicana feminist epistemology to identify and dismantle power, oppression, and inequities as experienced by these populations. She utilizes multiple research methods as mechanisms to examine these matters with the ultimate goal of informing immigration policy and higher education practices.