#YesWeCode, MacArthur Foundation, John Legend and Top U.S. Companies unite to build new ecosystem of learning


Lex Hundsdorfer
lex@bluepractice.com | 678-770-8305


 ‘LRNG’ to Create 21st Century Paths to Success for All Youth

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Today #YesWeCode joined with national education, technology and corporate leaders to launch LRNG, a bold new endeavor to close the nation’s sharp and growing divide between young people who have access to 21st century opportunity and those who do not.

#YesWeCode has joined forces with Gap Foundation, the Boys & Girls Clubs, Electronic Arts, the Schultz Family Foundation and Grammy Award-winning musical artist John Legend, along with the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, to launch a movement that combines in-school, out-of-school, employer-based and online learning experiences into a seamless network that is open and inviting to all youth. LRNG will formally be announced at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s annual Corporate Citizenship Conference today.

“We are thrilled to partner with LRNG to bring tech awareness and education to a broader audience of young people,” said Van Jones, President of #YesWeCode, an initiative of The Dream Corps. “This is the kind of platform that teaches them: ‘You can be somebody who creates the future with your own hands’.”

Through the LRNG digital badging platform, #YesWeCode is providing a series of technology-related digital badge. The first badge, currently available to LRNG beta testers, is designed to educate students about different careers in tech. 

LRNG is powered by Collective Shift, a new nonprofit funded in part by the MacArthur Foundation and dedicated to redesigning social systems for the connected age. LRNG is headed up by Connie Yowell, former Director of Education at MacArthur, and Jessica Lindl, who ran GlassLab, a leading developer of next-generation learning games that is now an integral part of LRNG.

LRNG plans to scale up rapidly by combining a city-based strategy with global online reach.

“Every young person deserves access to learning that engages, inspires and equips them to reach their full potential, and the goal of LRNG is to make that a reality,” said Yowell. “Together with committed partners from every sector, we plan to build out LRNG across the country and around the world.” 

A key component of the endeavor is Cities of LRNG, which will build on the success of a three-year demonstration project in Chicago, Dallas, Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C., that served more than 100,000 youth during recent summer programming.

Cities of LRNG will network the rich learning opportunities available in the nation’s cities -- at school, at creative camps and classes, at science museums, and through workplace internships -- and link them to the larger LRNG ecosystem. LRNG will fulfill the promise of learning in the connected age, making in-person and online experiences visible, available and inviting to all youth.

LRNG will also incorporate digital badges and playlists, 21st century tools for documenting learning wherever it happens. Like a grade earned in school, badges are markers of achievement. As more colleges, employers and organizations accept badges as evidence of skills and talent, young people can use badges to map out their own paths to college, job or civic opportunities.

In the modern economy, educational attainment is tightly tied to future earnings and other pivotal life outcomes. But family income often predicts how high young people will reach. Only 9% of 24-year-olds from low-income families held a college degree in 2013, compared to 77% of those from top-earning families.

Meanwhile, 40% of U.S. employers have jobs they cannot fill because applicants lack the skills required. 

“We need all hands on deck,” Lindl said. “This is a challenge no one institution alone can address. LRNG is calling on businesses, cities, nonprofits and others to join us in transforming the learning landscape and closing the opportunity gap. We are all responsible for providing the full range of learning experiences needed to prepare young people today.

For more information about LRNG, visit LRNG.org and follow @WeAreLRNG on Twitter.

#YesWeCode provides low-opportunity youth with the necessary resources and tools to become high-level computer programmers. By learning this highly valuable and relevant 21st century skill, these young people can not only shift the trajectory of their own futures, but transform their relationships with their communities and their country.
In collaboration with grassroots training programs, job-training programs, tech companies and employers, school districts, and community stakeholders, #YesWeCode is building a pipeline solution to introduce low-opportunity, job-focused young people to careers in technology. To learn more about #YesWeCode, visit yeswecode.org


"Diversity brings so much more to the table - and by focusing outside of the usual and rewarding all sorts of people in tech - we can only make it better. #YesWeCode is doing exactly that."
- Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple