One of the challenges of growing and keeping an open source community vibrant is attracting individuals and helping them to understand the opportunities the technology offers, how they can master it, and how they can get a job. Those who may want to point their careers toward Drupal often don’t know how to get started, where to find a path, nor have the resources to do it. It can be a daunting undertaking that has likely caused more than a few people to move on to traditional careers with paths that are more clear and accessible.
We started Drupal Career Online, our career technical education certificate program, as the first of its kind for Drupal over 10 years ago at the behest of the workforce board on Florida’s Space Coast seeking new career and training opportunities for those whose jobs fell victim to the end of America’s Space Shuttle program. We created it on the model of countless other career technical education programs that feed a variety of industries with an ongoing flow of new talent, with the added element of community; which has helped us to create a truly unique and valuable learning experience. We built the program, secured our licensure with the Florida Department of Education, and it has developed into the premier Drupal career-training program worldwide.
We’ve been working for more than a decade to build it and to help bolster the Drupal talent pipeline through the DCO as well as working with other training organizations to really make an impact on how we can help get people into the Drupal talent pipeline. We’ve partnered (and tried to partner) with regional workforce boards, colleges, non-profits and Drupal organizations in a variety of ways (and through more than a couple of attempts) to help bring more people into Drupal.
After all of this effort and time, we’re really excited about the extraordinary response and results we’ve gotten as we have ramped up DrupalEasy scholarship programs. Organizations who are supporting the Discover Drupal career training program and those who are stepping up to sponsor their own, dedicated scholarships to Drupal Career Online are making amazing strides in attracting talent, especially individuals from underrepresented groups, to the community through their tuition sponsorship, mentorships and entry-level employment opportunities.
As our scholarship program evolves, we are formalizing things to make sure there is a clear path for more organizations that want to get in on improving the flow of talent into the Drupal talent pipeline. We are making sure we can keep building on the spirit of the program as we scale up the number of members who would like to be a part of the effort with Discover Drupal through the Drupal Association, or directly sponsor their very own scholarship for Drupal Career Online.
We’d love to seem more companies and organizations join the Drupal Association’s thoughtful Discover Drupal sponsors, or become direct DCO sponsors like Palantir.net, Four Kitchens and Bounteous as they cooperatively recruit to attract diverse people from outside of the community to learn more about Drupal as a career, offer scholarships to the DCO, provide mentoring and provide graduates with paths to becoming Drupal professionals.
Please contact us if you’d like to discuss how sponsoring a student scholarship for Drupal Career Online might help you recruit some fresh talent and bring more, and more diverse people into the Drupal Community.
Mike, have you considered contributing to and helping grow the Google Summer of Code program?
I'm a supporter of the Google Summer of Code program, but presently our community focus is on Discover Drupal.