The latest Tweets from Cheryl Contee (@ch3ryl). geek + good = inspirational innovation – CEO of Do Big Things. My full time job = proud mama of a toddler!. Cheryl is the award-winning CEO and Co-Founder of Fission Strategy, which helps the world’s leading non-profits, foundations and social. Followers, Following, Posts – See Instagram photos and videos from Cheryl Contee (@cherylcontee).

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Cheryl Contee

To subscribe to Personal Democracy Plus, visit personaldemocracy. To make a contribution in the amount of your choosing, visit personaldemocracy. There’s a new digital divide in the United States, and it’s got nothing to do with a lack of access to computers and the Internet.

That’s the idea posed by Cheryl Contee, a partner web development and strategy firm Fission Strategy. Instead, a new divide has emerged in the form of a massive skills gap, and a mismatch between undereducated and undertrained minorities and the demands of the high-tech labor workforce, she said in a talk delivered Tuesday at Personal Democracy Media’s annual conference in New York City.


We now face a new digital divide: A lack of training, and a lack of skilled workers — not a lack of ability or a lack of jobs,” she said. Citing San Francisco as an example, she noted that only 15 black high school students took calculus last year, noting that that’s the kind of skill needed for the kind of high-tech jobs of the future.

The number of vacancies at high-tech recruiting companies tripled in the past year, she said, as there’s an untapped pool of labor that’s lacking in the necessary set of skills in the U. So when I see that pattern coming in, which was true of Google, it was very easy to decide to invest.

Contee said that contrary to Doerr’s assumption, history has seen its share of important black inventors such as Elijah McCoy, whose landmark invention for steam engines made them more efficient.

His name is the genesis for the phrase “the real McCoy. Smaller companies could hire interns. Teachers need to inspire kids in the field of science.

Cheryl Contee (@cherylcontee) • Instagram photos and videos

Elected leaders should advocate for more funding for tech training programs and education in general. Contee, who is black, used her own story to make her point.


When she attended Yale — thanks in part to scholarships — she had to find a job to support herself. Being an assistant in the computer lab and library was the second-highest paying job after dishwashing, she said.

She took the job and was mentored by Yale’s computer lab director Margaret Krebs and her colleagues. Contee has met with success in her years after university. In addition to Fission, she’s landed some angel investors in a new social software product she’s working on called Attentive. cheryk

While broadband Internet access is ubiquitous cherjl spreading quickly, the skills necessary to start a business and the capital necessary to scale one still aren’t easy to get to for people of chrryl. In an emotional thank-you towards the end of her talk, Contee credited Krebs with her own success, and called on other mentors to reach out to potential innovators who have yet to get started.

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