Riviera Granted up to $1 Million for Application That Puts Women and First-Generation College Grads on Guided Path to STEM Careers

SAN FRANCISCO – Sep. 11, 2019 – Riviera Partners, a leading retained search firm specializing in placements of executive leadership in engineering, product and design talent, today announced that its data science team has been given the prestigious Convergence Accelerator (C-Accel) award by the National Science Foundation (NSF). Riviera, partnering with the University of Virginia Economics department, received the grant for its proposal to build an AI-powered application that can help people successfully navigate STEM, with a focus on developing a long-term career trajectory in tech. The tool, which builds on Riviera’s proprietary algorithms against thousands of technology candidates and hiring insights, will study the role of individual characteristics such as education, skillset, peer self-assessment and others to guide peoples’ career planning. The solution has the potential to impact U.S. labor supply by addressing the increasing demand for technology talent, which has resulted from the rapid digitization and automation of the labor market. It can help bridge the gender and diversity gaps in the high-tech industry by better equipping women, minorities and underrepresented groups in developing a successful technology career path.

A Path for Workers Seeking 21st Century Skills

In the next few years, 140,000 IT jobs will be left unfilled (1). Only 26 percent of the software engineering workforce were women in 2018 (2), only 2.2 percent of first-generation graduates major in Computer Science (3), only 3.41 percent of software engineering degrees are awarded to Hispanics, and only 1.3 percent of degrees are awarded to people who identify as black or African American. There are slightly more Asian graduates at 8.7 percent (4). The Riviera NSF project aims to change those percentages, giving more women and minorities a path to break in to high-demand tech careers, closing the tech skills gap. 

“We believe that anyone can achieve anything if the path and direction are clear,” said Tammy Wang, VP of Data Science and Engineering at Riviera Partners. “There are large populations in the US that don’t know where and how to start a technology career.  Riviera will work with nonprofit organizations to reach out to these communities to make sure our tool is easy to use and gives them perspectives that are practical, feasible, and that can transform their career trajectory. Data science and technology can make life better for everyone, and we are on a journey to help the tech field be more diverse to bring opportunities to more people.”

As a funder of research and education across all fields of science and engineering and with relationships with universities and funding agencies around the world, NSF is uniquely positioned to pilot this approach to accelerate discovery and innovation. NSF C-Accel brings teams together to focus on grand challenges of national importance that require a convergence approach. The teams are multidisciplinary and leverage partnerships; the tracks relate to a grand challenge problem and have a high probability of resulting in deliverables that will benefit society within a fixed term. NSF C-Accel is modeled on acceleration and innovation activities from the most forward-looking companies and universities. Rivera’s project was chosen as part of the C-Accel National Talent Ecosystem track, the ultimate goal of which is to support research and development leading to innovative approaches for employers to support workers seeking the skills required for 21st century work related to AI, data science, predictive analytics, and other technologies of the future.

Riviera matches top engineering and product talent with tech innovators.  Having worked with nearly half of the Tech Unicorns, serving hundreds of clients, placing thousands of tech execs, and working with the most influential VC and PE firms in the business, Riviera already leverages its proprietary AI-driven technology to reduce hiring risks and deliver better candidates to its clients. Through Riviera’s platform, called Sutro, recruiting partners leverage the collective experience of the entire firm, have access to historical, enriched, and real-time data and can leverage machine learning-derived signals, scores, and success factors run against two decades of recruiting process data, With the National Science Foundation grant, Riviera will use its technology to identify and illustrate the typical career paths for engineers, tech product managers and designers, revealing candidate likelihood of achieving overall career goals. When released, the app will be free and available to the public.

“Our data science team is one of the best in the world, and this award is a testament to their amazing talent and innovative thinking,” said Will Hunsinger, CEO of Riviera partners. “Our technology platform is crucial to our ability to place highly skilled technology leaders at the world’s leading companies, and now, thanks to this support from the National Science Foundation, we’ll be able to apply our technology and accumulated knowledge to help more underrepresented people navigate successful tech careers.” 

About Riviera Partners

Riviera Partners is a key driver of innovation for today’s most influential companies by expertly placing executive talent in the crucial areas of software engineering, product management and design. By combining nearly two decades of recruiting expertise with a proprietary platform that uses machine learning to score and predict the best candidate for a company’s specific needs, Riviera is the go-to talent partner for leading venture capitalists and technology innovators. Learn more about what Riviera Partners can do for your business at www.rivierapartners.com 

  1. Talent Gap Widens
  2. Women in Technology, May 2019
  3. NACE Journal, November 2016
  4. DataUSA.io
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