Facebook wants to show students and their parents that the computer science world is welcoming them, regardless of their race. It is all part of the tech giant's initiative to grow the number of minorities that get underrepresentation in tech.

That is why Facebook developed TechPrep, a website featuring resources in Spanish and English. It assists potential students and their guardians in the exploration of the IT field, describes the types of professional activities and details the competences of software developers.

Facebook commissioned consulting firm McKinsey&Company to work on a study that found the fact that Hispanics and Blacks would like to approach tech jobs, but are sometimes unaware of the steps necessary. 

According to the study, Half of African-Americans as well as 42 percent of Latinos said that they are fit to work with computers. For comparison, whites and Asians claimed the same in 35 percent of cases. A significant 77 percent of parents declared that, in spite of wanting to guide their children through the basic steps of programming, they are clueless on what to do. Predictably, the percentage surges when addressing low-income families or parents who did not go to college.

TechPrep is a hub that offers community events, books and games to introduce parents and students to the IT world. Maxine Williams, Facebook's global director of diversity pointed out that the site provides resources for every age period and skill level. The web page does not teach young people how to code per se, but guides them through the basics.

"Parents and guardians are influential figures in students' lives," Williams stated.

She made clear that when people are exposed to computer sciences from an early age, their chances to break the potential-blocking barriers increase notably.

In order to raise awareness about the program, Facebook will use Facebook ads. To extend its visibility into communities, it scheduled a roadshow in U.S. cities that is due in the next months. The social network company asked for support from organizations that have the best interest of minorities and women in mind, such as Girls Who Code, Oakland Unified School District, Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers and Boys and Girls Club of America.

Laura Weidman-Powers is the founder of CODE2040, an NGO that aims to help more Blacks and Hispanics become employees in the information technology field.

"Parents and guardians remain influential in the academic and career choices of college students interested in pursuing a career in tech as well," she underlines.

The TechPrep platform comes as Facebook increases the diversity of its overall workforce, which reads 2 percent Blacks, 3 percent Hispanics, 35 percent Asian and 55 percent white.

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