What started with one ambitious volunteer interested in sharing his talent and expertise with students has brought a five-year partnership with a growing volunteer base, hundreds of hours invested in Code2College students through after-school and weekend programming and access to technical professionals and senior executives at Vrbo, and now it’s parent company Expedia Group, along with Expedia’s associated brands. This exponential growth in support is due in large part to the efforts of ViBE and Black Expedia Allied Movement (BEAM), which are the two Black employee resource groups for Vrbo and Expedia, respectively.
In Fall 2016, Trey Briggs, Engineering Manager at Vrbo, answered a public call for Tech professionals from the Austin area to serve as volunteer instructors for a brand-new, pilot program set to introduce Black, brown and economically disadvantaged high school students to coding through after-school classes. That first year, Trey was integral to the refinement of our curriculum and even the preparation of our first two high school intern placements at Indeed.
Since then, Vrbo has engaged with Code2College a number of ways including hosting five workshops to date, including one held this past week. These impactful sessions have focused on a range of topics including interview skills & preparation, a data analysis and visualization case competition and most recently, an elevator pitch and resume development workshop. And what started in Austin has now grown to national impact as Vrbo and Expedia brand volunteers are supporting Code2College students from across the country given our pivot to a virtual model in March 2020.
But this deep support should come as no surprise given Expedia’s commitment to inclusion and diversity, as well as the longstanding investment that Expedia has made in the communities where it operates and its employees live through its Expedia Cares initiative. And while Vrbo has been supportive by sharing the time and talent of its volunteers, they have also invested critical resources into our program. For our 2nd Annual Demo Day and Graduation ceremony, Vrbo was the title sponsor for our essay competition and awarded a college scholarship to one of our 2018 graduates, Adriana Reyes. Through this support, Adriana was able to matriculate to her dream school, the University of Texas at Austin, where she is now pursuing a Computer Science degree. In fact, for the past two Summers, Adriana has also been interning at Cirrus Logic as a Software Engineering Intern. If that weren’t enough, Adriana participated in Code2College at the same high school where Trey was an instructor. The impact that Vrbo has had on our program and students is undeniable.
We’re overjoyed to continue to work with Trey, as well as other ViBE and BEAM leadership including Jesse Nubie and Leah Wade, to deepen the impact that Vrbo and the Expedia Group can and will make on the students that we serve. We now have the unique opportunity to scale this impact nationally at a marked rate through this deep and meaningful partnership.