When I first heard Katie Juran from Adobe talk about the Adobe Digital Academy at the Workday Opportunity Onramps conference, I was impressed with her perspective on bringing qualified, diverse talent into a technology company, and was thrilled when Juran and the program’s manager, Liz Lowe, agreed to share their insights with our readers.
Juran, who oversees Adobe’s diversity and inclusion efforts, explained that Adobe Digital Academy is designed for nontraditional candidates looking to switch from nontechnical jobs into tech careers that offer more earning potential and growth opportunities. It’s intensive, which is why Adobe makes sure participants get lots of support in the process. Think of it as a technology apprenticeship program designed for today’s world.
Here’s how it works: Candidates typically find out about the program through a partnering non-profit organization such as Hack the Hood, Year Up, or the International Rescue Committee-Utah. Adobe awards a scholarship and living stipend to selected candidates to attend a three-month training program learning web development at one of two schools: General Assembly in the San Francisco Bay Area, or V School in Salt Lake City. This is considered the “boot camp” portion of the program. Dependent on feedback from the education partner, candidates are then eligible for a three-month internship program with a technical team at Adobe. High performers then have the opportunity to be hired full-time.
The program started small in 2016 but has grown quickly. Since the academy’s inception, Adobe has awarded 60 scholarships, with roughly 80 percent progressing on to internships at Adobe. So far, of those who have completed internships, Adobe has hired 15 candidates for full-time positions, while some have gone on to take positions at other tech companies.
Here are the highlights of my conversation with Katie Juran, senior director of diversity and inclusion at Adobe, and Liz Lowe, senior program manager of Adobe Digital Academy.