Hack the Hood is expanding its program to five new locations this year to bring a unique tech training model where low-income youth of color learn technology skills by building websites for small businesses during a 6-week boot camp.
They will partner with East Oakland Youth Development Center (EOYDC) and MetWest High School of Oakland, RYSE Youth Center of Richmond, the African American Arts & Culture Complex of San Francisco, and the Boys and Girls Club of the Peninsula in East Palo Alto.
Hack the Hood’s program addresses the lack of access to tech training and 21st century skills – and the lack of access to jobs in tech – that is a problem in so many Bay Area communities.
Since winning the 2014 Google Bay Area Impact Challenge which led to a $500,000 grant, the organization has leveraged their support to raise other funds for a Bay Area expansion they hope will lay the groundwork for a national model that teaches low-income young people of color 21st century skills that lead to careers in tech.
“We’re so thrilled to work with such amazing organizations who really know their community inside out the way we know Oakland,” said Zakiya Harris, co-founder and Chief Education Officer of Hack the Hood. “Together with our partners, Hack the Hood will extend our boot camps, programs, and alumni networks to introduce 150 low-income youth to careers in tech and give them the confidence and connections to seek further education and training.”
RYSE Youth Center of Richmond, the African American Arts & Culture Complex of San Francisco, and the Boys and Girls Club of the Peninsula already have rich and successful outreach programs, and are well embedded within their communities. Until partnering with Hack the Hood, they were missing a tech component and will now be able to offer tech training.
New Oakland partners East Oakland Youth Development Center (EOYDC) and MetWest High School both bring traditions of innovation and service to young people.
“When youth in our program build a website for a small business, they are not only gaining valuable tech skills that can immediately increase their earning potential, they are also helping struggling business owners reach more customers, and helping people in low income neighborhoods find the goods and services they need locally, so their money supports jobs close to home,” said Susan Mernit, Hack the Hood’s CEO and co-founder.
The need for tech training entered the national conversation last week with the White House’s rollout of the TechHire Initiative, a multi-sector initiative to empower Americans with the skills they need to enter the tech sector through both traditional and nontraditional education paths.