In 2017, Palantir.net and Digital Bridge Solutions teamed up to start a small inclusion initiative with the hopes of increasing diversity in the Drupal community. This initiative was designed to invite and expose underrepresented people (whether they be underrepresented due to race, gender, economic status or other) to the Drupal community and opportunities therein. Due to a number of generous donations of tickets, time, and meeting rooms, we were able to host five students from NPower Baltimore to come to DrupalCon Baltimore for one day and get a quick introduction to Drupal. Activities included a 4 hour training, a talk outlining Drupal security topics, a networking lunch with Drupal shop executives and seasoned community members, and a meet and greet with a college graduate who recently joined ForumOne.
In 2018, we have expanded the original day-long format of this initiative to a 5-month training and mentorship program. With the assistance of FigLeaf Software (for 1:1 training), Drupalize.me (for supplemental help), and 11 mentors from across the Drupal community, Palantir is working with 11 enthusiastic students ages 18-24 (five from NPower Baltimore and six from Genesys Works in Chicago). Beginning with a kick off in both cities, both groups connected virtually from their respective city. Students participate in the program from January through May. All students will meet in person at both MidCamp and DrupalCon Nashville.
As this is the first year we are doing this, this initiative is in a pilot stage. We’d love to show what is involved in actively bringing in people who have not had exposure to Drupal and share the lessons we’ve learned along the way. This session will cover the following:
Strategic partnerships: How to cultivate relationships with local non-profits and community organization
Recruitment strategy: Tapping into existing programs and pre-vetted participant pools
Implementation: What it takes, how to resource or pay for this initiative and associated challenges
Student showcase: Student anecdotes and work completed to date
Measuring success: How to develop and measure learning outcomes
More doing: Ideas for making the Drupal Community more inclusive and reflective of the audiences that Drupal serves
We hope this initiative will encourage other Drupal firms to be able to start similar projects in their cities/regions. How can you build your own program? Or rethink your recruiting strategy?
This session is not technical, and is great for anyone who is interested in finding solutions to increasing diversity in the Drupal community.
Michelle JacksonWeb Strategist @ Palantir.net
A Web Strategist at Palantir.net, Michelle works in concert with each team to ensure that the needs of clients and their audiences are identified, assessed during the discovery/definition process and integrated into a site’s design and technical build. She has a BA in Hispanic Studies and East Asian Studies from Brown University, a MS in Information from University of Michigan, and a MA in International Studies from Johns Hopkins University - Nanjing University Center for Chinese and American Studies. Michelle speaks Chinese and Spanish.
Michelle began her study of user experience overseas. She conducted research on ethnic Chinese and their use of online tools in both China and Panama for two years. What excites her most about the web is its potential to bring new information, resources and opportunities to diverse audiences.