What 1,000 Mentorships Reveal About Decoding Student Success

By Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation

This Pride Month, the Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation is honored to welcome Out in Tech to our Grantee Blog. Out in Tech is the world’s largest non-profit community of LGBTQ+ tech professionals, uniting over 50,000 members to create opportunity, advance careers, and leverage tech as a catalyst for social change.

Courtesy of Out in Tech

For LGBTQ+ youth, mentorship can have a profound impact on career trajectory, inspire innovation, and foster a sense of belonging in industries that may feel isolating. The support and guidance of a mentor—that is also a community member—can create inclusive learning environments, bolster professional development, and provide much needed reassurance that meaningful careers in today’s forefront industries are within reach.

With access to the growing network of Out in Tech professionals, Out in Tech U’s mentorship program aims to pave new avenues for LGBTQ+ youth to connect with mentors. Over the course of eight weeks, accepted high school, college, and community applicants aged 17-24 develop professional and technical skills needed to launch careers in engineering, product design, fintech, media, AI, and more. Since inception, over 1,000 alumni have graduated the program, 80% of which worked in an entry-level job or internship within 12 months of completion.

The program gives mentors and mentees the space to grow personally and professionally while authentically being themselves, partake in meaningful skills training, and hold space within a diversifying tapestry of tech professionals:

“I felt that engineering was severely lacking the LGBTQ+ representation, mentorship, and guidance it truly needed. Out In Tech, however, has successfully provided me with the tools and resources to overcome, and I am extremely thankful to have been a part of it.”

Out in Tech Mentee

“The excitement from a young, ambitious, and curious person really made me feel like I made a difference in another person’s life. There is something incredible about seeing talent unfold, and being there, side-by-side, at graduation day made me so incredibly proud.”

Out in Tech Mentor

“This summer, I created an event with my mentor to bring transgender youth to Facebook NY to share their art with Facebook employees and other trans techies. I had the intention to inspire youth to pursue a higher education and career in tech; Out in Tech provided me the opportunity to combine my passion for social justice and improving the LGBTQ+ community.”

Out in Tech Mentee

“One thing my mentorship helped me realize is that while I enjoy building things with code, I also have fun putting together features and thinking about the user. After the mentorship, I decided to look into the product space and found a whole new world of possibilities that I wanted to explore. I’m currently working on a team to build another IOS app … it’s thanks to my mentorship that I’m able to understand our code and know what’s feasible for the app.”

Out in Tech Mentee

We are honored to amplify Out in Tech’s mentor and mentee voices in honor of Pride Month as they echo its spirit—a time to both commemorate the progress made while acknowledging the challenges that persist in shaping a more equitable future.

About Out in Tech

Out in Tech is the world’s largest non-profit community of LGBTQ+ tech professionals. We unite our 50,000 members by creating opportunities to advance their careers, grow their networks, and leverage tech for social change. We envision a tech industry where LGBTQ+ people are empowered, well-represented, and have full agency from intern to CEO. We believe this will lead to equitable and inclusive workplaces, innovative new ideas, and a more just future. For more information, visit outintech.com.