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

Screen_Shot_2016-08-17_at_11.39.01_AM.png

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

Coding-_Blog.jpg

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.png

Codecademy

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

FreeCodeCamp.png

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.png

Udemy

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.png

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.jpg

Code.org

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

Screen_Shot_2015-10-28_at_12.38.43_PM.png 

“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


San Francisco Chronicle: 5 ways Oakland can preserve its soul in a tech boom

920x1240.jpgOakland Mayor Libby Schaaf has been using a new word lately to describe her vision for the technology hub growing in her city: “Tech-quity.”

With Uber planning to open a 3,000-person office in the long-underutilized Sears Building in downtown Oakland, there is no turning back the tech tide rolling across the bay. Though only 3.1 percent of Oakland’s workforce is in the tech sector, that number is sure to grow as other companies follow Uber’s lead, seeking office space at a quarter of the cost of San Francisco.

In a welcome-to-Oakland letter to Uber executives, Schaaf defined tech-quity as providing “equitable access to top-notch training and jobs for our residents and fostering our local technology sector’s growth so it leads to shared prosperity.”

It sounds like a noble goal, but it will be difficult to enforce.

In Uber’s case, the San Francisco ride-hailing company acquired the building in a private land deal, so it didn’t need government approval or tax incentives to buy the property. That left Oakland no leverage to enact a community benefit agreement, a strategy used in San Francisco’s Mid-Market neighborhood to compel tech companies to help out the community.

Instead of enforcing tech-quity through tax incentives or government mandates, Schaaf said, change will be more sustainable if companies “see it as the right thing to do.”

“Rather than thinking of it as enforcement, I’d rather see it institutionalized. The list of items in my letter was not a checklist of things for companies to do, but a menu. Ideas to stimulate the imagination. One size is not going to fit all,” Schaaf said.

Tech-quity will be the centerpiece of Schaaf’s state of the city address Wednesday, the next step in her bid to turn Oakland into a kinder, more inclusive tech hub.

That task will prove difficult, as Oakland’s leaders face a three-tiered challenge: They must simultaneously attract tech companies; minimize the displacement of longtime residents by a sudden influx of wealth; and find a way to make Oakland’s tech scene as diverse as the city itself.

Tech industry leaders, urban planners, activists and city officials suggest five techniques Oakland could adopt to achieve tech-quity:

Attendees take a break for lunch during the New Co. festival at Frank Ogawa Plaza in front of city hall in Oakland, Calif., on Thurs. October 8, 2015.

1. Think outside the office

Unlike many tech companies its size, Pandora doesn’t have a cafeteria — on purpose. It wants its 1,000 employees to leave its downtown Oakland high-rise.

“There are no free meals at Pandora,” said co-founder Tim Westergren, whose streaming music company has been the core of Oakland’s tech sector for a decade. “The more amenities and things you provide around your office, the more it becomes this self-contained bubble and the less people interact organically with the community around them. And I think that’s very tempting for a lot of tech companies.”

To that end, Schaaf’s office has been introducing companies that want to serve food in their offices to local vendors.

Pandora employees also receive 40 hours a year in “volunteer time off” to donate to schools and nonprofits — another way to get into the community.

“It will behoove Uber to invest in the community,” Westergren said. “Use their resources and their voice and the podium they have to advance things that are important to Oakland.”

2. Exert leverage

As part of its “Twitter tax break,” San Francisco offered companies a temporary exemption from the city’s 1.5 percent payroll tax if they moved into the long-dreary Mid-Market neighborhood. The area has attracted commercial tenants, though the city lost $34 million in potential payroll taxes last year alone.

“The big danger is that Oakland has historically been so desperate for economic development that it may just give away all of its leverage in negotiating terms with new employers,” said Van Jones, a CNN commentator and founder of YesWeCode, an Oakland tech skills training program for low-opportunity young people.

Because of San Francisco’s tight commercial real estate market and Oakland’s growing appeal, companies may no longer need big tax breaks to come to the East Bay. But, Jones pointed out, businesses must often acquire permits and licenses from local government. Considering the tech industry’s general aversion to red tape, the city could find novel ways to offer incentives for certain behavior, he said.

“Government should have a fast track for companies that really want to be good neighbors,” Jones said. “And everybody else would get the normal, bureaucratic government treatment.”

For years, Oakland imposed fewer taxes and fees on developers or new businesses than neighboring cities. But as the flush times approach, it is considering an impact fee — a one-time payment from developers to get permission to build.

“This is a perfectly appropriate idea. But what is that number? And how will it be implemented?” said Egon Terplan, a regional planning director for SPUR, an urban planning think tank.

3. Expect public pressure

Media entrepreneur John Battelle expanded his NewCo festival — a sort of open studios for new tech businesses — from San Francisco to Oakland this year. Far more companies in the Oakland portion are “mission-driven,” he said, a reflection of the city’s long history of social activism. There, Battelle heard a constant refrain: “‘Keep Oakland Oakland.’ ‘Make tech in Oakland look like Oakland.’”

“If Uber had decided to move 3,000 employees into South San Francisco, there wouldn’t be a story about any of this,” Battelle said. “That in itself is a social pressure.”

Oakland is on the cutting edge of a cultural shift in which people increasingly want to work for a company “that is making things a little bit better rather than a little bit worse,” he said.

Attendees take a break for lunch during the New Co. festival at Frank Ogawa Plaza in front of city hall in Oakland, Calif., on Thurs. October 8, 2015.

“Creating that expectation is what Oakland is doing right now by welcoming Uber in, but saying, ‘We have this expectation of you,’” Battelle said. “Now the question is, over the next 10 years, does Uber live up to that?”

If Uber or any company doesn’t live up to the city’s expectations, it should expect backlash. “This is still Oakland — one of the hotbeds of activism on planet Earth,” said Jones, previously a Bay Area street activist. “If they choose not to be good neighbors, Oaklanders will probably make them understand the folly of that course.”

Westergren’s Pandora has experienced some backlash — and it hasn’t scared him away.

“I like that our office windows have been broken once or twice,” he said. “That’s real life. The answer isn’t to build a big wall.”

4. Build atop parking lots

While it seems as if a trendy new restaurant opens in downtown Oakland every week, there are 40 acres of surface parking lots and vacant parcels there, according to a study by SPUR. That’s enough room for buildings that could house an additional 36,000 jobs and 19,000 residents without displacing any homes or businesses, according to the report.

Plus, the city can dangle this empty space as a carrot to big companies that want to move or expand in Oakland, said Oakland tech entrepreneur and philanthropist Freada Kapor Klein. She and her husband, Mitch Kapor, plan to spend $40 million over the next three years to help African Americans and Latinos get into the tech industry.

“The city could say to a company, you can build on that piece of land — if you build a coding camp there, for example,” Klein said. “We’re startup people. We like principles better than rules.”

5. Train locals

Oakland is among the most diverse cities in the country. The tech industry is under fire for its lack of diversity.

City leaders think they can bridge this divide by turning Oakland into something of an incubator for tech diversity.

The city “is trying to build a tech economy that people in Oakland can work in,” said Marisa Raya, a special project analyst with Oakland’s Economic and Workforce Development Department.

With the Kapor Center set to open next year — and Jones’ YesWeCode and similar organizations in town — that vision is taking root.

Last week at the Oakland Museum of California, YesWeCode brought together a dozen tech employers — including eBay, Lyft, Pinterest and Square — to form the YesWeCode Working Group, which is trying to diversify the technology workforce. The tech companies agreed to create 300 job-track apprenticeships over the next five years.

Such recruitment efforts are a way to make sure that Oakland’s tech scene doesn’t just poach skilled engineers already well-compensated in San Francisco.

“The basic trade of computer engineering is teachable in a relatively short period of time to people who have basic mathematical literacy,” Jones said.

In any other city in the country, the impending arrival of 3,000 high-paying tech jobs — and a potential of a boom yielding thousands more — would be met with unadulterated joy. But when Oakland leaders and merchants see how much of San Francisco has grown unaffordable, there is some trepidation.

Blue Bottle Coffee isn’t a tech company, but its supporters regularly laud it as a mission-driven, Oakland-grown success story. At the opening night of the NewCo conference in Oakland this month, Blue Bottle CEO James Freeman said he worries about how Oakland is changing.

“Most of our baristas live in Oakland,” Freeman said. “But how long is that going to last?”

Joe Garofoli is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. E-mail: jgarofoli@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @joegarofoli

Source: San Francisco Chronicle


SF Chronicle: 5 ways Oakland can preserve its soul in a tech boom

Screen_Shot_2016-08-17_at_11.24.26_AM.png

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf has been using a new word lately to describe her vision for the technology hub growing in her city: “Tech-quity.”

With Uber planning to open a 3,000-person office in the long-underutilized Sears Building in downtown Oakland, there is no turning back the tech tide rolling across the bay. Though only 3.1 percent of Oakland’s workforce is in the tech sector, that number is sure to grow as other companies follow Uber’s lead, seeking office space at a quarter of the cost of San Francisco.

The question is what kind of tech hub will Oakland become.

In a welcome-to-Oakland letter to Uber executives, Schaaf defined tech-quity as providing “equitable access to top-notch training and jobs for our residents and fostering our local technology sector’s growth so it leads to shared prosperity.”

It sounds like a noble goal, but it will be difficult to enforce.

In Uber’s case, the San Francisco ride-hailing company acquired the building in a private land deal, so it didn’t need government approval or tax incentives to buy the property. That left Oakland no leverage to enact a community benefit agreement, a strategy used in San Francisco’s Mid-Market neighborhood to compel tech companies to help out the community.

Instead of enforcing tech-quity through tax incentives or government mandates, Schaaf said, change will be more sustainable if companies “see it as the right thing to do.”

“Rather than thinking of it as enforcement, I’d rather see it institutionalized. The list of items in my letter was not a checklist of things for companies to do, but a menu. Ideas to stimulate the imagination. One size is not going to fit all,” Schaaf said.

Tech-quity will be the centerpiece of Schaaf’s state of the city address Wednesday, the next step in her bid to turn Oakland into a kinder, more inclusive tech hub.

That task will prove difficult, as Oakland’s leaders face a three-tiered challenge: They must simultaneously attract tech companies; minimize the displacement of longtime residents by a sudden influx of wealth; and find a way to make Oakland’s tech scene as diverse as the city itself.

Source: SF Chronicle


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

EMBARGOED UNTIL OCTOBER 6, 2015

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

 #YES WE CODE, MACARTHUR FOUNDATION, JOHN LEGEND AND TOP U.S. COMPANIES UNITE TO BUILD NEW ‘ECOSYSTEM OF LEARNING’

 ‘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.

Read more

InMenlo: White House names #YesWeCode Leader of Excellence – and Kay O’Neill heads to Washington

Kay-ONeill-with-colleague-and-Anna-Eshoo1.jpg

Kay O’Neill came to Menlo Park in 1988, buying a little bungalow the same weekend she married husband Peter. She worked as a licensed marriage and family therapist for 20 years before first getting involved with Acterra’s Be the Change environmental leadership program, and then meeting Van Jones, co-founder of#YesWeCode.

“Meeting Van pivoted by career into workforce development,” she says. “The goal of #YesWeCode is to bring diversity to tech by connecting low-opportunity youth to training and ultimately tech careers.

Along the way she got, as she explains, “on Obama’s bucket list.” “We [#YesWeCode] got recognized as a Leader of Excellence in Apprenticeship Development, Education and Research at the ApprenticeshipUSA Summit at the White House held the second week of September.”

ApprenticeshipUSA launched in response to the President’s call for increased apprenticeships in his 2014 State of the Union.  #YesWeCode announced its apprenticeship (job-training) pilot in Oakland earlier this year as part of The White House TechHire initiative.

The year-long program, called The #YesWeCode Coding Corps, engages Peralta Community College District and tech boot camps to provide African-American, Latino/a and Native American young people with technical training, college credit, mentorship and paid apprenticeship at tech companies, such as Square and thoughtbot.

Kay views her role as chief architect of the talent pipeline. “We are losing this untapped talent, the hidden coders,” she says. “We need the home grown workforce to close the economic equity gap. We say, ‘#YesWeCode graduates will: Make Apps. Make Money. Make History.'”

Through the TechHire initiative, #YesWeCode has also committed to raising a $10 million scholarship fund for The #YesWeCode Coding Corps, and is a founding partner for two TechHire cities, Oakland and San Jose.

Kay traveled to Washington with colleague Johnnie Williams, who is running the apprenticeship program. In addition to the White House summit, they participated in a Congressional event on Capitol Hill and met with Congresswomen Barbara Lee and Anna Eshoo. Side note: Kay was one of the corps of women who helped get Eshoo first elected in 1992.

You can learn more about #YesWeCode and how to donate online.

Photo of Kay with Johnnie Williams and Congresswoman Anna Eshoo courtesy of Kay O’Neill.

Source: InMenlo


Black Enterprise: #YesWeCode Will Recruit Minorities for New Tech Training Initiative in the South Bronx

black-enterprise-millennial3s-love-tech-over-deodorant.jpg

By now you should know, but in case you didn’t: Silicon Valley isn’t the only place where technology startups run rampant.

Innovation hubs are popping up in every nook and cranny across the nation, including the South Bronx.

Nevertheless, coding and programming jobs continue to be out of reach for low-income minorities. But leaders like Assembly member Michael Blake (D, 79th District – The Bronx, NY) are trying to find ways for the country’s tech revolution to transform joblessness in the South Bronx.

[Related: BE Smart: All Star Code Educates Next Generation of Tech Entrepreneurs]

Last week #YesWeCode, an organization founded by former White House appointee, Van Jones, teamed up with Blake to organize New Faces of Tech, a broadcast event at the old Bronx County Courthouse. #YesWeCode, a Dream Corps initiative, works with partners to help train 100,000 low-opportunity youth of color around the country to become high-level computer coders. The historic courthouse recently underwent revitalization after having been abandoned for 37 years.

The event showcased Bronx-based tech exhibitors like Mass Idea, SCENYC, Knowledge House, Liquid Talent and many others. The entire event was broadcast live as New Faces of Tech on MSNBC’s Growing Hope Live from the Bronx and was  sponsored by Ford.

“All of these incredible groups that have been doing phenomenal things that people may not be aware of…We want Bronxite’s to know about them so they can tap into these opportunities,” said Blake in a different interview on Bronxnet.org.

“We look at the courthouse as not just a place of former history, but new history,” said Blake. “We’re launching an innovation center at the heart of our district because we are committed to transforming the South Bronx into a global urban metropolis and getting Bronxite’s jobs and economic opportunities.”

New Faces of Tech will connect youth participants to some of the Bronx’s emerging tech leaders in augmented and virtual reality, digital design, motion, software development, and gaming.

“YesWeCode is a phenomenal collaboration. We are excited about that partnership. It’s a game-changer,” said Blake in the Bronxnet interview. “We’re constantly talk [ing] about our vision of turning the South Bronx into an urban Metropolis. We are not only going to do that through jobs and education. For the 139,000 people that live there, we don’t want you to be consumers, we want you to be creators.”

#YesWeCode’s presence in the Bronx is indeed necessary, as the area has struggled with persistent unemployment for decades. Almost 30% of the Bronx’s 1.4 million residents live at or below the poverty line. Among the boroughs, it ranked last in job growth between 1990 and 2014, at 17.7%, according to the state Labor Department. Additionally, less than 70% of adults living in the Bronx had attained at least a high school diploma; one of the lowest attainment rates in the country.

Source: Black Enterprise


DNA info: Bronx Startups Flex Their Tech Muscles at the Old Borough Courthouse

extralarge.jpg

SOUTH BRONX — Robots and startups filled the second floor of the Old Bronx Borough Courthouse on Thursday during an event meant to show off the area's burgeoning technology scene.

Projects ranging from an online platform to help Bronx artists sell their work to video games about climate change helped demonstrate that while people may not commonly think of the South Bronx as the next Silicon Valley, the neighborhoods are no strangers to tech enterprise.

Companies had booths set up throughout the courthouse to display what they were working on, including one from Mass Ideation founder Miguel Sanchez, who said he has been developing a series of video games focusing on climate change, ocean pollution and land use for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

"You have to choose what route to take to fish, and if you fish in the wrong areas that have ocean pollution, you’re not going to get as much fish," he said. "So you’re going to understand what real fishermen have to deal with because we litter so much."

Sanchez is still trying to determine how to tackle the land use game.

"That's a tough one," he said. "We're trying to figure out what's fun."

The company is also working on a program that takes people through a tour of different NOAA satellites and lets them see what each one does.

Tech company scenyc was at the courthouse as well to show off NYCNAK, an online retailer where people can purchase a curated selection of art and music.

The site focuses on artists from The Bronx, in hope to help get the borough some more recognition for all of its contributions to the art world.

"Katy Perry or whatever is not going to be on here because we’re small but also because we’re not interested," said Chanez Baali, director of scenyc. "It’s really about fostering relationships with Bronx artists."

"Hip-hop, street art has been used and used and used time and time again, and The Bronx hasn’t seen any money from this," she continued.

Products on the website can range in price from $1.50 to $10, and the platform currently has about 100 users, according to scenyc.

Although the Old Bronx Borough Courthouse had stood vacant and derelict for decades, it has recently seen a huge burst of activity.

In addition to the technology showcase, the courthouse hosted a massive art show in the spring, and the television series "Gotham" filmed there in August.

Henry Weinstein, one of the owners of the building, said he was now looking to turn the building into a museum, a workspace for artists, or some combination of the two.

Sanchez predicted The Bronx would be the next big tech hub in the city and that the borough was a perfect fit for such a boom.

"The Bronx is known for its extraordinary creativity, and the people here don't lack work ethic," he said. "It’s just opportunity they lack."

Read at original source.


VIDEO: Van Jones on #YesWeCode

Loudspeaker Films presents a short video featuring #YesWeCode founder Van Jones speaking about how #YesWeCode is going to train 100,000 low-opportunity young people for high-skill tech jobs.