Every OUSD student will be assured free tuition their first semester at any of the four Peralta community colleges in the East Bay.
“Our intention is to empower organizations that help inspire, boost academic achievement and support students, with school, community and life,” said AT&T’s Vice President of Northern California Mark Blakeman.
Besides supporting Peralta Colleges with a $35,000 grant, AT&T is giving $400,000 to Oakland nonprofit organizations that are empowering students this “back-to-school” season.
Oakland native Brandon Nicholson, Director of Hidden Genius, says Hidden Genius trains and mentors Black male youth and has served over 1400 in the past two years. “We’re developing students not just to be hired but to advance our work throughout the city.” According to Nicholson, “The Hidden Genius Project seeks to reveal the true potential of Black male youth and transform their communities from the inside out. Through our student-centered, project-based approach, we invest in young Black men, give them access to technology training, and plug them into an ecosystem of innovation and empowerment.”
Randy Rosenberg, art curator and director of Art Works for Change, explained that their exhibits are best known for representing environmental issues and have had exhibits worldwide that addressed issues of gender equality, human rights, the nature of cities and sustainability.
Black Girls Code Director Kimberly Bryant explains that, beyond teaching computer science and coding, Black Girls Code has prepared over 6,000 girls to date between the ages of 7 – 17 to be leaders in the innovation economy.
“We are the de facto Girl Scouts of technology,” said Bryant.
“As we provide creative tools to build solutions with technology, we are teaching them that they not the end user, they are the creators of this technology, a technology that will affect them, their families and community. Our goal is to reach 1 million girls by 2040.”