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Two Early College STEM Schools - Lake View High School and Corliss High School - Each Receive $50,000 Grants to Purchase Tech for Staff and Students
Below is an article originally published by PR Newswire on July 15, 2020. This article is about PowerToFly Partner Relativity. Go to Relativity's page on PowerToFly to see their open positions and learn more.
CHICAGO, July 15, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Relativity, a global legal and compliance technology company, announced that it has provided $50,000 grants to two CPS Early College STEM Schools: Lake View High School and Corliss High School. Both high schools have STEM and IT pathways and additional technology for their staff and students will help further their vision and support student success.
"For nearly a decade, Relativity has worked to help close the technology divide that poses challenges to many young people in Chicago. Now more than ever, local students and staff need easy access to technology and related resources as schools must plan for the possibility of continued remote learning as they head into a new school year," said Colleen Costello, Head of Social Impact at Relativity. "For high schools that have STEM and IT pathways, it's especially crucial that these motivated students have the tools and opportunities necessary to maximize their talents."
Located in the Lake View community on Chicago's North Side, Lake View High School serves a diverse student population, most of whom live in low-income households. As an Early College STEM school, Lake View High School offers unique STEM coursework and opportunities for students to earn college credit while they're still in high school. This grant for the school will go toward supplementing the school's existing inventory with updated laptops for educators.
Corliss High School located in the Pullman neighborhood on Chicago's Far South Side also serves a diverse student population and offers unique programming and college coursework through its Early College STEM program. The school will utilize the Relativity grant funds to purchase 200 Chromebooks, as personal technology for the students is imperative during this remote e-learning period and for needs that will arise at the beginning of the 2020-2021 school year. Remaining funds will support a remote learning incentive program as well as the purchase of graphing calculators and flash drives to help students save assignments.
"Access to technology is critical to ensuring students are learning and engaging, especially for our Early College STEM Schools, which have a special focus on science and technology," said CPS Chief Education Officer, LaTanya D. McDade. "Computing devices are the textbooks of today — essential tools that will help our students reach their full potential and enable our educators to teach with innovation and creativity. I want to thank Relativity for their generous contribution." This grant will be distributed through the CPS Foundation, Children First Fund.
Relativity Gives, Relativity's community outreach program, helps Chicago youth — especially those with limited resources — gain access to the technology, equipment and training they need to be successful in today's world. To date, the company has committed $2.92 million in direct financial and in-kind donations to local public schools and non-profits.
At Relativity, we make software to help users organize data, discover the truth, and act on it. Our platform is used by thousands of organizations around the world to manage large volumes of data and quickly identify key issues during litigation, internal investigations, and compliance operations with RelativityOne and our newest offering Relativity Trace. Relativity has over 180,000 users in 40+ countries from organizations including the U.S. Department of Justice, more than 70 Fortune 100 companies, and 198 of the Am Law 200. RelativityOne offers all the functionality of Relativity in a secure and comprehensive SaaS product. Relativity has been named one of Chicago's Top Workplaces by the Chicago Tribune for nine consecutive years. Please contact Relativity at email@example.com or visit http://www.relativity.com for more information.
About Children First Fund: The Chicago Public Schools Foundation:
The Children First Fund is the philanthropic and partnership arm of Chicago Public School (CPS). It serves as a knowledge hub and liaison between CPS and its community of partners, securing and organizing resources that advance CPS' mission to provide a high-quality public education that prepares every child in every neighborhood for success in college, career, and civic life. For more information, please visit https://www.childrenfirstfund.org or find us on social @ChiFirstFund.
Veronica Spak, Relativity Corporate Communications
Below is an article originally written by Michael Hines at Built In, and published on July 7, 2020. This article includes information about PowerToFly Partner Relativity. Go to Relativity's page on PowerToFly to see their open positions and learn more.
Tech companies across the United States are reexamining their values and recommitting their programming, hiring and products to be more inclusive of Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) in light of the recent protests against police brutality and anti-Black racism spurred by the killings of George Floyd, Tony McDade, Breonna Taylor and other Black people. In addition to reflection, this is also a moment of action, one that asks companies to acknowledge where their diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives are lacking and strengthen them.
According to the numbers, companies don't have to look very hard to find areas of improvement. Black tech workers make up less than 5 percent of employees at Salesforce, Facebook, Slack and Microsoft and less than 10 percent of employees at Twitter, Uber and Lyft. A study by San Jose State University, which used anonymized data provided by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, found that 10 large Silicon Valley tech companies employ no Black women and that three large Silicon Valley companies employ no Black people at all.
These stats lay bare just how much work the tech industry has to do to become more inclusive. We have a better idea of what that work entails after talking with leaders at Relativity, Ball Aerospace, Compass and Livongo. For these companies, inclusivity isn't just an internal initiative but one that extends to their communities via student mentorship programs, fellowships for talent typically overlooked by the tech industry and pledge programs designed to drive investment toward Black professionals.
CASSANDRA BLACKBURN, HEAD OF INCLUSION, DIVERSITY & BELONGING AT RELATIVITY
When it comes to diversity, equity and inclusivity, where does Relativity have the most room for improvement?
Relativity is committed to building awareness across the organization through education. Right now, we are driving learning and introspection through monthly events and by offering educational resources. In our view, the more educated we are, the better we can drive change.
A few example sessions that we have held in recent months include a panel conversation in partnership with The Nova Collective discussing the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on communities of color and an internal panel discussion on the ways that allies shape the LGBTQIA+ experience and the intersectionality of our individual journeys. We also offer resources, coaching and support in understanding what it means to be an ally to our Black Relativian community and how to take action.
We plan to build upon these educational opportunities and continue diversifying our talent pipeline by partnering with diverse professional groups and universities to maximize the high performance of our teams. Relativity partners with various organizations across the country and in the Chicagoland area, including National Black MBA Association, Society of Women Engineers, National Society of Black Engineers and Latinas in Tech. However, we acknowledge there will always be room for improvement and are dedicated to learning and growing to foster a more inclusive workplace.
The Relativity Fellows program aims to expand economic opportunity in the Chicagoland area by finding, certifying and employing untapped talent in traditionally overlooked communities.
What is your organization doing to promote inclusivity in the tech community?
Our Social Impact program aims to build inclusivity within the broader tech community. We believe education is at the core of inclusive environments because when we know more, we do better.
Over the years, Relativity has committed $2.92 million in direct financial and in-kind donations to local public schools and nonprofits. Our Wired to Learn program enables local public schools to purchase the technology they need to close the opportunity divide for low-income students who otherwise may not have access to things like computers or calculators. Our monthly Geek Grants are awarded to educational or technological organizations working to make technology more accessible and STEM careers more inclusive.
Additionally, this summer we are kicking off the Relativity Fellows program, which will feature 10 to 12 fellows in its inaugural cohort. The Relativity Fellows program aims to expand economic opportunity in the Chicagoland area by finding, certifying and employing untapped talent in traditionally overlooked communities. By the end of the program, all fellows will be certified on our software and ready for placement in a full-time position with Relativity, our partners or our customers.
Below is an article originally written by Kristy Esparza at PowerToFly Partner Relativity, and published on July 1, 2020. Go to Relativity's page on PowerToFly to see their open positions and learn more.
Raise your hand if you ended up in e-discovery by happenstance.
The truth is, most of us didn't go to school with big plans to join this incredibly niche industry—especially those in the supporting branches of e-discovery, like marketers, HR folks, and software developers. A lot of us just sort of … fell into it.
Faizan Rahman, a software engineer at Relativity, knows this story all too well. As Relativity's very first apprentice, Faizan went from accountant to front-end developer in a single year. His total career transformation was quick—and anything but easy.
Faizan is one of the many faces behind our software, so we thought we'd try something new today and give him the spotlight on the blog. Read on to learn more about his career swap—and why the challenging journey was worth the reward.
Finding His Passion
In 2013, Faizan graduated from the University of Illinois-Chicago with a bachelor's in accounting. After taking a few years to travel and work abroad, he came back home in 2017 ready to start his career. But accounting just didn't have that ooh-la-la allure anymore.
"I knew some friends who were in accounting work, but they were not happy with it," he says. "So, I decided to do something else. If it's for my entire career, I have to do something I enjoy."
So, Faizan did what anyone looking for a job does. He Googled.
He dived into the depths of the internet looking for a new career that he could feel passionate about and commit to long term. In his searches, the same two words kept popping up: web developer.
"Every website showed the trend that web development is the future and in high demand," says Faizan. "But I didn't know if I'd be able to do it because I didn't have a computer science or web development background."
Faizan isn't the first to want to break into software development from a non-traditional background. In fact, the industry is absolutely booming, and there are a ton of online resources to help prospective programmers gain exposure to the field. Faizan enrolled in some basic online courses, including self-led sites like Udacity, Udemy, and freeCodeCamp, and discovered that coding gave him that rush of excitement he had hoped for.
It was definitely something he wanted to pursue, but he knew he'd need some help.
"In order to do this professionally, I knew I would need a structured program where I could actually learn and create projects. That's when I decided to go to a [coding] boot camp."
The boot camp in question was called Coding Dojo, an immersive, full-time program that promises to teach students full-stack engineering in just 14 weeks.
Faizan was up for the challenge—and in for quite the ride.
Entering the Dojo
Faizan's time at boot camp was intense, to say the least. Technically, Coding Dojo's 14-week program is in session Monday – Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Realistically, the days can be much longer, with some spanning into the late evening hours.
For Faizan's part, he'd consistently put in 12-hour days, then follow that up with weekend work to finish assignments and polish the skills he had learned the week prior.
"I knew that it would be very difficult, but I was mentally prepared before I went to the boot camp," he says. "[Coding Dojo] openly and clearly says to everyone who's a potential student that this is not a joke. It's going to be the most difficult thing you've ever been through, and it's not for everyone. It's only for people who are willing to put themselves into it and accept the challenge."
At the end of the 14 weeks, he and eight of his colleagues graduated and, after a two-week break for winter holidays, they entered a week of career readiness training—including an open house with Relativity about a brand-new apprenticeship program.
That's where it all came together for Faizan. He applied for the gig and in June 2019, started as Relativity's first-ever apprentice.
Learning & Doing All at Once
Life as an apprentice was a little calmer than life at Coding Dojo, but it wasn't any less challenging, says Faizan. He learned quickly that being an apprentice doesn't mean you're handed throwaway tasks or busy work. He was in the thick of it almost immediately.
One of his teammates, a senior staff engineer in the core UI team named Adam Sorna, pulled double duty as Faizan's official mentor.
"The mentorship program was one of the coolest things that ever happened in my life because I was not very experienced, and I was nervous because I had never worked at a software company and never designed software for production. Having a mentor was very good for me," Faizan says. "It was something I had hoped for, and I was really happy because any time I had a question, I had someone to ask that question to. My mentor is very senior and knows about the product deeply and is just a very good guy and wanted to teach me a lot. I was fortunate to have him."
From Apprentice to Employee
Faizan made it through 10 weeks as an apprentice before being offered a full-time position on the team—an offer he accepted with open arms, in part because of the challenging work. But mostly, because of the team and culture.
"I feel I'm accepted very well at Relativity. The culture of our team, as well as Relativity in general, is extremely nice. People are accepting of the fact that we make mistakes, and everyone is accepting of feedback and ready to make changes based on feedback," he says. "The culture was the most important point for me in choosing my offer after the apprenticeship."
Today, Faizan is working on one of our most important initiatives: the new Aero UI. It wasn't something he envisioned when he started, but he's happy to roll with the punches.
"My [initial] intention was to find a job as a backend developer, but because of Aero, we needed more people working on UI/UX side of things. It's not what I was planning, but I feel really lucky to work on it."
When he looks back at his life before the apprenticeship program and his life today, Faizan says he has no regrets.
"Relativity had the chance to look at me for 10 weeks as an apprentice and I had a chance to look at Relativity. And I think it worked out pretty well for both of us."
Kristy Esparza is a member of the marketing team at Relativity, specializing in content creation.