Shaking up the diversity pipeline with Handshake director Jordan Pedraza

Shaking up the diversity pipeline with Handshake director Jordan Pedraza
Jordan Pedraza (Photo credit: Charis A.M. Redmond)

Jordan Pedraza is the director of support at Handshake, a digital college career network that connects employers to diverse talent at HBCUs and other colleges. Through its easy-to-use mobile app, college students connect with recruiters at companies like Airbnb, Deloitte and Amazon to start meaningful technology careers. As a former Googler and board member at Pomona College, Pedraza has dedicated her career to education, technology, and improving opportunities for college students.

Read on to learn more about how Handshake is democratizing access to career opportunities for college students of color.

Why is ed tech important for underrepresented communities?

I have been working in ed tech for over 10 years. I’ve done it for K-12, higher ed and now at Handshake. I feel like I followed a student’s journey because now I am helping students find jobs. Finding your first job is really critical because 43 percent of new grads are underemployed. They have jobs that do not require a four-year degree. With the rising cost of education, it is important to make it easier for everyone to have access, make things more equitable, and give recruiters tools to tap into talent [they wouldn’t] have looked at before. The unique thing about our network is that an employer can post a job and send it to all the schools at once and message students through campaigns. At the Clark Atlanta University consortium, 99 percent of students that have created a public Handshake profile have gotten a message from an employer. One of the attendees at my panel today got her first job at Google because of Handshake. I love that we are changing who’s in the room and improving the lives of students and their families.

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