ECenter Alum Launches Companies to Connect Technology Companies with People of Color

Geno Miller, UNH class of 2018 (and ECenter Alumni), founded his start-up company Shtudy in 2017 while he was still a student and he worked with the ECenter during those early days of his development process. His mission is to “create wealth in tech communities of color” by connecting technology companies with candidates of color. His new initiative, The First 33, provides companies with a means of meeting their hiring goals while increasing diversity in the tech sector. Read on for more about the work Shtudy is doing and how companies can engage with The First 33!

Can you give us some background on Shtudy and the work you’re doing?
Founded in 2017, our mission here at Shtudy is to create wealth in tech communities of color. Shtudy is an early talent acquisition platform that connects young Black, Hispanic, and Native American software engineers with job opportunities at leading companies. It’s the only digital diversity hiring solution that allows recruiters to engage, book intro calls, interview, and hire pre-vetted technical job seekers of color all in one place. To date, we’ve raised over $150,000 in funding and generated more than 350 signups. Our partners (Camelback Ventures, JobTalk LLC, and more) are leaders in the diversity recruiting space. Shtudy’s product is ready to launch in 3 weeks.
What is The First 33 Initiative and how did it come into being?
The First 33 Initiative is an innovative way for companies who are committed to increasing diversity and inclusion in tech to consistently meet their hiring goals each quarter. Diversity recruiters and hiring managers are expected to hire a certain number of qualified Black, Hispanic, or Native American software engineering candidates each season. The First 33 Initiative is an easy solution for medium-sized companies to guarantee they hit their targets. The first 10 companies who join will receive exclusive access to our online talent database, and can hire up to a total of 33 of Shtudy’s verified young job seekers of color. Each candidate is required to pass a rigorous coding quiz and soft skills training course to prove and sharpen their abilities before they’re entered into the recruiting pool.
How many companies can join the First 33 Initiative?
We invite all companies who are serious about diversifying their workforce to join. However, the first 33 hires will only be distributed to the first 10 companies. That way, we ensure we’re only working with companies who have the courage to lead the charge for diversity in tech with us. Don’t miss out on this!
As an employer, how long will it take me to hire a candidate through Shtudy?
It depends on how fast you and the candidate decide to go through the recruiting process. Anywhere from 3-14 days is normal for companies to interview and hire a Shtudy candidate.
As an employer, can I hire Shtudy candidates before the product is released in 3 weeks?
Yes, of course! We have candidates who are looking for jobs right now. If you want to hire people today or any time before Shtudy’s platform launches, we can 100% do that for you.
How is The First 33 Initiative different from the Tech Inclusion pledge initiated in 2016 and how is it carrying that mission forward?
The difference is that we’re also supplying the candidates, so we know firsthand which companies are taking action versus those who are just talking a good game. Many pledges often fail because there is no effective way to hold companies accountable for the long-term. Our platform’s algorithm allows us to monitor which companies are interviewing and hiring the most candidates.
Can companies still hire from Shtudy’s talent database even if they don’t want to join the initiative?
Yes, companies can hire candidates without joining the initiative. The initiative is completely optional. However, we are very selective about who we work with to ensure we are providing our candidates with the best opportunities to thrive in their careers.
What are the benefits for companies joining the initiative?
There has never been a better time for Shtudy and our partners than right now. The first 33 hires will only be distributed to the first 10 companies who sign up. The recent attention of the Black Lives Matters movement has led to less diverse companies being exposed, while those who are building more diverse and inclusive work cultures are receiving positive PR and revenue benefits. In addition, COVID-19 has caused the demand for remote tech workers to skyrocket. It is important for companies to have a seamless end-to-end digital diversity hiring solution to create a competitive advantage. Don’t miss out on this!
Can you speak to some of the biases and challenges, either direct or indirect, that individuals of color face in the tech sector?
People of color face obstacles throughout all stages of the recruitment process, from preparation to post-hire. Unconscious bias and simply lacking knowledge of how to effectively showcase their abilities to recruiters are very common hurdles for techies of color. Because there are so few engineers of color, new employees rarely have an opportunity to ask another person of color about their experiences beforehand. Another big challenge for engineers of color is being heard and feeling welcome amongst coworkers. As a marginalized group within a large organization, it’s very easy for an employee to feel as though they’re being ignored or excluded.
In addition to the initiative, what steps can individual companies take to address biases and increase diversity and inclusion in the workplace?
Companies need to start by asking themselves, “How diverse is my executive team?” A diverse leadership team is critical to building a work culture in which every voice is welcome, heard, and respected. It is also sends a huge signal to the rest of your workforce as to which direction the company is headed. Having an executive team who share different cultures and religious backgrounds are just as important as ethnic diversity.
How much does it cost to join the initiative?
The first 10 companies who join can hire up to a total of 33 verified candidates and get unlimited access to our talent database for just $15k.
Is there a 30-day guarantee?
Even better. We give a 90-day trial period for all of our partners once they make their first hire. If it doesn’t work out after 90 days, you can hire an additional candidate for free. We’re just that confident in our job seekers.
How can companies join The First 33 Initiative?
Joining the First 33 is quick and easy - just send me a short email with the subject line “First 33” to so we can schedule a chat so you can start hiring talent as soon as possible.