What is TechTown?
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Support for the Portland Tech Community
TechTown Portland is an industry-specific initiative to connect, empower and support the collective action of Portland Tech professionals to hire and retain a more diverse and inclusive workforce.
Since its inception in 2015, TechTown has shifted from a public Diversity Pledge created by and for Portland Tech companies into a support-based program centered around the unique needs of tech professionals leading DEI work within their company.
TechTown does not directly impact business decisions at individual companies, but rather provides the structure, process and accountability to put DEI work front and center. We meet leaders and employees where they are at in their diversity and equity journey and provide them ongoing encouragement to take action towards progress every day.
What does TechTown do?
We Enable Action Through Connections and Community
We have learned that despite their unique cultures, the individuals leading the DEI work within their tech company do need similar types of support.
TechTown provides these individuals with a supportive community to share lessons, develop shared programming, find encouragement and keep each other accountable to help eliminate the isolation that comes from being a team of 1 and leading the effort within their company.
This work is about inclusion and coming together – and TechTown is focused on bringing the people leading DEI work together. TechTown is a facilitator of connections, identifying opportunities to unite across company silos and incite change within them that would not otherwise occur.
Why Does TechTown exist?
Retention and Recruitment of Underestimated and Disadvantaged Populations
Driving cultural change to achieve more equitable hiring, retention and career advancement is central to our work. Currently, there is still an underrepresentation in the number Black and Brown individuals continue to be underrepresented at all levels within TechTown companies. Their sense of inclusion is lagging compared to their white and male counterparts. at all levels within TechTown companies. Inequity is greater in the management and leadership ranks. There is no simple solution, yet. We all have the agency to address this issue. When underestimated people gain representation and inclusion, we all benefit.
WHAT OUR MEMBERS ARE SAYING
“TechTown is helping hold companies accountable for actually staying true to the purpose of this (program), and so folks at tech companies see the value of hiring people from nontraditional backgrounds…
Holding companies more accountable to making hiring practices more equitable, having salary transparency, and hiring people that are culture-add and not ‘the same’ is important.”
“The tech industry moves fast; so does TechTown Portland!
The collective has changed over the years, and I see this as a good thing because the work of inclusion and diversity is also changing all the time.
The work is about hearing, understanding, and then implementing new ways of thinking, so we have to remain flexible with a beginner’s mind.”
“I love being able to talk to others going through similar challenges and also get ideas from peer companies doing different things than we are.”