Frequently Asked Questions About Techtonica

 

What is your one-sentence description of Techtonica?

Techtonica partners with tech companies to provide free tech training, laptops, living stipends, and job placement to women and non-binary adults in need in the Bay Area.

 

What makes Techtonica different?

We offer underserved, diverse populations an opportunity to be involved in a long-term, tuition free, full-time program that prepares and places them in the software engineering field without having to worry about financial instability. The main differences between us and other programs are:

  • Our participants are women and non-binary adults with low incomes, preventing more displacement and empowering the people who really need tech skills
  • 90% of our participants so far have been people of color, 16% have a disability, 8% identify outside the gender binary, and 2% are veterans
  • Our program is free for participants
  • We provide stipends to help our participants with living and childcare costs
  • We are a nonprofit, so donations are tax-deductible
  • We provide laptops
  • Our program is six months long instead of just three​
  • Our program ends with a job and professional connections in the industry
  • We expose participants to a variety of roles in the tech industry, not solely the role of software engineer—our goal is to find great fits for our participants and help them support themselves and their families
  • We encourage participants to be leaders in the community
  • We organize intro coding workshops with local organizations to reach the local community
  • Our program is more age-inclusive—it's not just for young adults
  • We provide ongoing support to our graduates
  • Partner companies are involved in criteria, curriculum, and mentoring
  • Our curriculum is open-source
  • We provide diversity and inclusion training to the teams that our graduates will be placed onto

 

What do “genderqueer,” “non-binary,” and “femme” or “femme-presenting” mean?

Genderqueer and non-binary are terms that describe people who do not identify as men or women. “Femme” refers to people’s appearance. A more traditionally-feminine appearance is considered femme. We are trans-inclusive. We serve and accept cis and trans women, as well as people with non-binary gender identities.

 

What is Techtonica looking for in participants?

We are seeking participants who can show consistent responsibility, resilience, commitment, and interest, among other criteria that our partner companies work out with us. See our full-time program page for more information.

 

I'm interested in being a participant in your program. How do I sign up?

See if you're eligible on our full-time program page. If you're eligible and our applications are open (as indicated on our social media accounts), you can apply by following the instructions.

 

What is Techtonica looking for in companies?

We are seeking companies that are interested in increasing diversity and social impact, committed to learning about and encouraging inclusion, supportive of junior engineers, etc.

 

What is considered low-income?

For most area nonprofits:

For a family: less than $39,000 annually

For an individual: less than $24,000 annually

For Techtonica:

Less than $70,000 annually in the Bay Area

 

Is there an age limit?

Adults, ages 18 and up

 

How long is Techtonica's full-time program?

It is full-time, Monday through Friday, for six months.

 

Where does Techtonica's program take place?

The program is based in San Francisco (Ramaytush Ohlone land) but is currently remote.

 

Which subjects will be covered? What does the curriculum cover? What level of training do you provide?

The curriculum covers mostly web development (full-stack JavaScript), but we also do sections on other skills useful in tech, such as project management, UI/UX design, and data analysis. Sponsoring companies have a say in what should be added or improved upon. Feel free to check out and contribute to our open-source curriculum.

 

Why don't you just take a cut from graduates' salaries following the program?

We believe in empowering underrepresented folks, rather than placing an additional burden on them.

 

Why does your program end with job placement?

Being underrepresented and without connections in the tech industry makes it very difficult to find a job. Companies are working to increase diversity, and underprivileged locals are seeking employment, so why not help each other?

 

See our sponsorships page.

 

Do sponsors get to select participants for employment?

Advocate-level sponsors can get involved with the training and curriculum, so they get to know participants over the span of the six months. Around the fifth month, companies and participants interview and rate each other and we do our best to align you so both sides are happy.

 

What topics are included in the diversity and inclusion training for sponsors?

Implicit bias, privilege, allyship, empathy, inclusion vs. diversity, apologizing, tools for inclusive hiring, why policies are important, giving actionable feedback, etc.

 

Are my donations tax-exempt?

Yes, because our fiscal sponsor Social Good Fund has 501(c)(3) status.

 

Why do donations go to Social Good Fund?

We are fiscally sponsored through Social Good Fund. Fiscal sponsorship is when a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization—the “fiscal sponsor”—takes on a project like Techtonica, thus sharing legal and tax-exempt status. We give them a percentage of our donations and they manage our employment, donations, payroll, and taxes. They offer the same services to over 50 organizations, so their tax documents reflect the information for all of those organizations.

 

What is the breakdown of Techtonica’s budget?

Programs—38.5%

Stipends—34.0%

Partnership Development—19.1%

Services & Fiscal Fees—4.5%

Operations—3.9%

 

What is Techtonica’s annual impact?

2017 Impact Report

2018 Impact Report

2019 Impact Report

2020 Impact Report

 

How do I donate?

Thank you! You can donate once or regularly here. Since our fiscal sponsor is Social Good, all donations will be sent to them first before being distributed to us. Please send us a message when you donate so that we know to inform Social Good and they can place your donation into our account.

 

What else can we do besides sponsoring and hiring?

 

Where did the name 'Techtonica' come from?

Our founder Michelle Glauser liked the idea of Techtonica being a "tonic" or "solution" for tech and a technical solution for neighbors in need. She also likes the "moving and shaking" that the name implies. The A at the end just fits, you know?

 

How do we contact you?

We would love to hear from you! Reach out to us through this form.