#YesWeCode Supports White House's Commitment to Expand Computer Science Education


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Jenna Chambers

Communications and Digital Media Associate  | The Dream Corps

jenna@dreamcorps.us | (650) 274-1951


#YesWeCode Supports White House's Commitment to Expand Computer Science Education


#YesWeCode, Oakland Unified School District, Collective Shift-LRNG, LaGuardia Community College and others commit to ensuring all students have access to computer science education and careers


Oakland, CA, Feb 3, 2016  -- #YesWeCode, a Dream Corps initiative, has announced a set of commitments specific to expanding computer science education and providing access to the tools and training needed to find success in the tech sector. This announcement reflects Computer Science for All, an initiative unveiled this week by the White House to make computer science courses available to all students. 

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Black Enterprise: Dream Corps Launches Multimillion-Dollar Scholarship Fund and More


The Silicon Valley Black Chamber of Commerce is holding its first annual Silicon Valley Black Youth Hackathon in the heart of the Bay Area. More than just a hackathon, this multi-layered event comprises a 24-hour software development competition, workshops, a 24-hour hackathon, presentations, awards, cash prizes, and more. The first workshops—to provide training and exposure in coding and computer technology—occurred last weekend, but it isn’t too late for you to get involved. Whether you’re a novice or an advanced techie, this challenge offers a way for you to get involved.

[Related: Got Computer Science? You Should]

Headed by Carl Davis Jr., president of the Silicon Valley Black Chamber of Commerce—which exists to create, identify, and expand economic development opportunities within the African American community—the Chamber has received support from organizations in and beyond the Valley, including Jack and Jill of America, Yes We Code, Rocket Fuel, Bay Area Tutoring, and others, including Black Enterprise BE Smart.

“We’ve been blessed,” Davis gushes. “This event is bringing together some of the most talented young African American minds in the Bay Area. We’re gathering to design, create, and present the best software solution to a pre-determined challenge using not only STEM, but also business principles.”

Davis’s brainchild, the event is open to all black youth ages 16 to 24. At a codefest, the young people will break up into teams that will include coders, engineers, product designers, marketers, and presenters—who must very quickly learn how to collaborate to develop a creative solution to a problem. The youth have been recruited from surrounding county high schools, colleges, and clubs. The winning teams can win scholarships.

Involving roughly 150 African American young people and 50-plus Silicon Valley techies, the techfest includes two challenges around app development: one, to help the San Francisco Bay Area African American community use technology to enhance opportunities for employment, entrepreneurship, and education; and another, to increase awareness of fitness activities, events, and exercise.

The winning teams will present on Feb. 6—during Super Bowl weekend—and be awarded prizes. Of course, the real prize is getting to participate in such a richly textured extravaganza like this. Training in coding, learning about teamwork, learning about failure and success, exposure to opportunities in the tech space—the no. 1 driver of job growth for the foreseeable future, according to many experts, is a grand prize in itself. According to the New York Urban League, jobs in STEM fields are projected to grow about twice as fast as those in other industries; and STEM careers are among the highest-paying.

Source: Black Enterprise

Localwise Promoting Diversity in the Startup Sector

Diversity_in_Tech_-_Startup_Job_Fair__1_(1).jpgInterested in working at a local tech startup? Join #YesWeCode at the Berkeley Startup Job Fair hosted by Localwise in partnership with the City of Berkeley’s Office of Economic Development (OED) on Jan. 28  at NextSpace in Berkeley.

This job fair serves to take one of many necessary steps to address diversity challenges in the startup sector and create an inclusive foundation as Berkeley grows to be an important tech hub.

In the past five years, Berkeley has witnessed remarkable growth in the startup sector. In 2011, OED counted 100 startups in Berkeley and today startups in Berkeley number 300. Job creation has accompanied this growth as, since 2014, there has been a 23 percent increase in jobs available at Berkeley startups.


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Deadline Extended to January 21, 2016 for Teens to Submit Apps to Congressional App Challenge

For Immediate Release
January 6, 2016
Contact: Rhianon Anderson, (202) 638-4370
Executive Director, Congressional App Challenge





WASHINGTON, DC – Due to popular demand, high school students who would like to participate in the 2015 Congressional App Challenge now have until Thursday, January 21, 2016 at 3:00 PM EST to do so.


The Congressional App Challenge (CAC) is a Congressional initiative to improve student engagement in coding and computer science. So far, more than 960 students from 175 Congressional districts across 42 states, have signed up to compete in their districts.

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Teens Invited To Submit Original Apps For Congressional App Challenge Through Jan. 15, 2016

For Immediate Release
December 7, 2015                                     Computer Science Education Week is December 7–13
Contact: Rhianon Anderson, (202) 638-4370
Congressional App Challenge

THROUGH JAN. 15, 2016 

WASHINGTON, DC – In the mutual spirit of Computer Science Education Week, teen coders are invited to submit original apps for the Congressional App Challenge from now through January 15, 2016. The Challenge is a congressional initiative to improve student engagement in coding and computer science. So far, 163 Representatives from 41 states – over a third of the Members of Congress – have signed up to host the app competition in their districts.

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Helping People Help People

HGP.jpg.jpgAcross the U.S., there are organizations and schools that help young people prepare for careers in the technical professions. These programs are part of a pipeline that can lead to high-income employment or entrepreneurial success. But as this time, there's more employment demands than supply; the demand is growing sharply, and that career pipeline flows best for white and Asian males.

#YesWeCode promotes and strengthens the entities that move low-opportunity youth along the pipeline to professional technical careers. “We see ourselves as helping the people that help the people,” states Amy Henderson, co-founder and chief innovation officer of #YesWeCode.


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SF Gate: A way to diversify tech? Treat computer class like math

Backed by an all-star cast of Silicon Valley executives and nonprofit leaders, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom asked the University of California Academic Senate Wednesday to count high school computer science classes as math classes instead of electives — a move supporters say could help to diversify the tech industry.

Newsom’s hope is that the shift will encourage California high schools — which frequently tailor their curriculum to reflect what the UC system requires — to beef up their computer science offerings.

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SF Gate: A way to diversify tech? Treat computer class like math


Backed by an all-star cast of Silicon Valley executives and nonprofit leaders, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom asked the University of California Academic Senate Wednesday to count high school computer science classes as math classes instead of electives — a move supporters say could help to diversify the tech industry.

Newsom’s hope is that the shift will encourage California high schools — which frequently tailor their curriculum to reflect what the UC system requires — to beef up their computer science offerings.

Turning computer science into a core requirement could eventually pull more women and people of color into those classes at a younger age, and help diversify the talent pool in an industry dominated by whites, Asians and men.

Last year, fewer than 9,000 California high school students took the AP Computer Science exam, according to Newsom’s office. A little more than one-quarter were women, fewer than 1,000 were Latino, and only 148 were African American.

“Every student learns about photosynthesis and fractions even if they don’t grow up to become botanists or mathematicians,” the former San Francisco mayor wrote in a letter to the Academic Senate’s Board of Admissions and Relations with Schools Committee. “A basic understanding of computing and computer science is foundational to many fields and will prepare students both for college and for the careers of tomorrow.”

Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, Facebook executive Sheryl Sandberg, Y Combinator President Sam Altman, LinkedIn Chairman Reid Hoffman and venture capitalist Vinod Khosla were among two dozen tech leaders who signed the letter. Also backing it were San Francisco Unified School District Superintendent Richard Carranza and Oakland Unified School District Superintendent Antwan Wilson.

Michael Nobleza, the national director for Oakland’s Yes We Code, a tech skills training program for low-opportunity young people, said this proposal would “help broaden the pipeline” by introducing more students to computer sciences.

Source: SF Gate

5 Places You Can Learn to Code Online for Free


Learning  how lines of code create mobile applications and website has never been easier. Best of all, there are many websites where you can learn for free!

Check out some of our favorite free online educational platforms and tools that will help you learn to code:







Codecademy is an online interactive platform that offers free coding classes in a variety of programming languages. Courses range from core programming concepts and language skills to website development. Codecademy allows users to interact with each other across the globe and collaborate to  build projects.

Ages: All
Level: Beginner to advanced
Languages: HTML & CSS, JavaScript, jQuery, PHP, Python, and Ruby
Cost: Free


Free Code Camp

Free Code Camp provides users hundreds of hours of free coding courses and connects students with nonprofit organizations where they  can put new coding skills to use.

Ages: All
Level: Beginner to advanced
Languages: HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript, Databases, Git, Node.js, Angular.js, Agiel
Cost: Free



Udemy is an online education platform that offers a HTML Workshop for beginners teaching students how to build simple web pages from scratch. This course is for anyone interested in learning how to make web applications and websites.

Ages: All
Level: Beginner to advanced
Languages: HTML 4.0
Cost: varies

Khan Academy

Khan Academy introduces computer science to millions of students around the globe through practice exercises, instructional videos and a personalized learning dashboard. Learners study at their own place, both in and outside of the classroom. The academy offers a variety of online courses, where students can learn how to program drawings, animation and games.

Ages: All
Level: Beginner to advanced
Languages: HTML/CSS, JavaScript, SQL, jQuery,
Cost: Free



Code.org is a non-profit dedicated to increasing computer science education in underrepresented communities. The Code Studio is home to online courses for students featuring games and educational resources for students of all ages.

Ages: All
Level: Beginner
Languages: HTML/CSS, JavaScript, Python, Ruby, and more
Cost: Free

How Big Tech Will Save Big Money


“Diversity in tech is not about guilt, morality, or the word ‘should,’” said Van Jones, president and co-founder of #YesWeCode. Diverse companies are showing strong evidence of outperforming non-diverse companies, Jones explained. Diversity in tech is about the bottom line.

“At this moment, we have reached a breakthrough level of Bay Area employers committing to the idea of apprenticeships sourcing talent from nontraditional pipelines,” said Jones at the Diversity in Tech Summit at the Oakland Museum October 19. #YesWeCode announced a new Employers’ Council of 30 leading tech companies who have committed to 300 paid positions for non-traditional candidates over the next 5 years.

The Oakland summit brought together leaders from Twitter, Yelp, Lyft, Pinterest, eBay, Square, SolarCity, Pivotal Labs, thoughtbot, NationBuilder, and Good Eggs to address head-on how to get more diversity in the tech economy.

"The reason diversity is a priority for companies and the reason the government is getting involved is there will be a million-worker shortage by 2020,” said Dave Hoover, co-founder of Dev Bootcamp, which transforms beginners into full-stack Web developers in 19 weeks. “Finding non-traditional talent sources is a very cost-efficient alternative to outsourcing.”

“Silicon Valley was built on a particular monocrop of genius,” said Jones. “Oakland is the most diverse city in the country. Every kind of human ever born lives in Oakland. 37 languages are spoken in our public schools. There’s an extraordinary amount of genius in this town 38 minutes — without traffic — from an industry built on scaling genius. How do we connect the brilliance of Oakland to these opportunities?”

#YesWeCode facilitates access for companies to nontraditional pipelines such as community college, an online degree, military schooling, or boot camp.

“We aren’t going to use PC terms. We are talking about young poor kids,” Jones told the crowd that included representatives from three mayors’ offices and US Rep. Barbara Lee. ”When we held our national Hackathon, there were engineers from top companies literally with jaws hanging open at how incredibly smart these kids are, trying to solve problems the engineers had never heard of. Like the kid who had an idea for an app for court date reminders. Now when I went to Yale, 80% of my peers were unpoliced drug users. But these kids are from a different world and end up in the system, and that’s a whole untapped world. There is opportunity here.”

“There was a young woman in foster care who said her clothes were all hand me downs from charity,” Jones continued. “‘People laugh at us,’ she said. ‘We do things you wouldn’t want your daughters to do so people don’t laugh at us.’” But she had a great idea: what if we had a way to pick our own clothes from uploaded photographs? Now, the secondhand trade is worth a billion dollars, so here you’ve got a foster kid with a billion-dollar idea in her head.”

“Motivated young people may have circumstances that prevent them from attending 4-year colleges,” said Johnnie Williams, #YesWeCode’s Apprenticeship Director. “The talent is there. It’s all about providing resources.”

Hoover, who ran Groupon’s apprenticeship program, explained how apprenticeship is ideal at this moment because of the way hiring has changed, “There’s a lot of great potential out there, and there’s a new industry saying, ‘potential over credential.’ The great thing about software development is that when bringing someone new on board, you can ask them to code something and look at the product.”

Marcy Tavano, Director of People at Pivotal Labs, echoed that analogy: “When hiring we think of ourselves as the basketball coach considering a new player. Let’s get you on the court so you can show me how you play.”

“Software is a team sport,” said Dan Croak, chief marketing officer of thoughtbot, “The internship that tech companies use has evolved into a more structured mentorship. You come on board as a second pair of hands on a client’s project. But your primary purpose is to learn, so you are encouraged to pause client work and go deep into a topic when you need to. We hire two-thirds of apprentices, and recently there’s been a 10% lift of people of color in the program.”

It’s no longer enough to hire exactly the right narrow candidate, because that role might last, say, 8 months. Companies have learned that when hiring, it’s more cost-effective to think like a skill producer than a skill consumer. “Your business is your talent,” said Hoover. In an age of non-templatized jobs, the ability to transition roles is key, and apprenticeship is the perfect platform for cultivating the full-deck, evolving developer.

Tamika Ross, chief of staff for Oakland mayor Libby Schaaf, said, “The word we like to use now is ‘tequity.’ We have a new talent pipeline. The growth can be shared. New cities can connect to a regional economy. And we can set young people up for success.”

“We think a lot more is possible,” said Jones. “It’s like Prince said — the older people in the crowd know who Prince is — you can have more Mark Zuckerbergs and Marissa Mayers if you have different expectations of people.”

Source: Medium