Coding a Solution for Youth in Technology

Can the tech industry help underprivileged and disconnected youth find summer jobs?

United States Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra intends to find out.

On Tuesday at a special event held at Twilio’s San Francisco headquarters, Chopra
announced three
 tech-focused initiatives to support President Barack Obama’s Summer Jobs+ program, announced in early January.

“Hiring someone for the summer is not the only thing we can do,” Chopra said during at announcement at Twilio‘s headquarters in San Francisco. “We need to train, educate and support.”

New Summer Jobs+ Partners

Codecademy, a startup that provides hands-on tutorials for would-be software developers, pledged to create “Code Summer+”.  A condensed version of the recently launched Code Year, the Code Summer+ program aims to teach thousands of low-income youth the basics of programming in over a summer.

The Level Playing Field Institute, a San Francisco-based nonprofit, will expand its Summer Math and Science Honors (SMASH) Academy, which helps prepare low-income and under-represented high school students of color for college through a rigorous curriculum focused on science, technology, engineering and math. This year SMASH will be held on four college campuses: UC Berkeley, Stanford, UCLA and USC.

College Bound Brotherhood, an initiative of Mitchell Kapor Foundation that mentors African American men,  will launch a summer internship program to place African American youths in Bay Area tech companies with the goal of giving them experience and motivation to pursue tech-related careers.

Get Involved

Chopra said it is imperative that to provide students with a strong science, technology, engineering and mathematics education and urged other businesses to join the initiative.

One easy way for employers to pitch in is to simply tag summer jobs postings to correspond to the JobPosting schema endorsed by and AfterCollege have also offered to tag job postings for free.

The tagging will make it possible for the jobs to be included in Summer Jobs+ Jobs Bank, which will be launched later this spring with the goal of providing 250,000 employment opportunities.

Another easy way for companies to contribute is through the Code Year program. Companies can create content and lessons for the program, sign up to mentor and hold meetups to engage with students.

“We launched Twilio because telecom is a black box,” Jeff Lawson, Twilio’s CEO said, “but what we didn’t think about is that software development is also a black box to many people. What’s so cool about Code Summer+ is it is teaching students to achieve the future they want, by building and deploying it themselves.”