New Summer Jobs + Commitments Plan to Introduce Low-Income Youth to Technology-Related Skills

Earlier this month, President Obama announced Summer Jobs +, a call to action for businesses, non-profits, and government to work together to provide pathways to employment for low-income and disconnected youth for the summer of 2012, with a goal of reaching 250,000 employment opportunities by the beginning of the summer.

The initial commitments list featured nearly 180,000 employment opportunities from public and private sector entities across the country. Companies and organizations can accept the call-to-action by engaging in one of three key ways: Learn and Earn – providing youth jobs through paid internships and/or permanent positions with on-the-job training; Life Skills – providing youth with work-related soft skills through coursework and/or experience; and Work Skills – providing youth insight into the working world (job shadow days, internship). 

To build on this initiative, today I am excited to announce three additional technology-focused Life Skills and Work Skills commitments from Codecademy, Level Playing Field Institute and the College Bound Brotherhood. As we continue to adequately prepare our young people to compete in the 21st century economy, it is imperative that we focus on providing them with a strong Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education as well as help introduce them to some of the high-tech competitive skills necessary in much of the industry today. The commitments outlined below will help introduce low-income youth in the San Francisco Bay area and others from across the country to basic coding skills, provide a STEM education curriculum that many may not have previously had access to, and provide the opportunity to intern at a leading technology company.

Thanks to everyone who has already committed to helping employ our youth and let’s keep the commitments coming!

Codecademy commits to a “Life Skills” pathways pledge through development of a "Code Summer+" program that will teach the basics of programming online as an abbreviated version of its popular Code Year program. This effort will aim to train thousands of low-income youth how to build innovative apps online. Technology companies are encouraged to participate in at least two ways – contributing lessons to support application development for students completing coursework and pledges to hold meetups to support students in person.  Companies can sign up to mentor and hold meetups at www.codeyear.com/meetups or can sign up to create content at www.codeyear.com/create.

Level Playing Field Institute operates the Summer Math and Science Honors (SMASH) Academy for low-income, under-represented high school students of color through a rigorous, STEM focused curriculum. SMASH will serve students this summer through a five-week summer residential experience at Cal, Stanford, UCLA, and USC with plans to scale nationally in 2013 and beyond- www.lpfi.org/SMASH.

The College Bound Brotherhood, an initiative of the Mitchell Kapor Foundation, seeks to expand the number of African American young men who are prepared for a college education. The Brotherhood serves as a network for 140 college access programs in the San Francisco Bay Area, reaching over 1,000 black male youth. This March, the Brotherhood will launch a summer internship program to place a cohort of Brotherhood youth into Bay Area tech companies, enabling the young men to develop the exposure and skills needed to pursue tech-related studies and careers.

Aneesh Chopra is the United States Chief Technology Officer and in this role serves as an Assistant to the President and Associate Director for Technology within the Office of Science & Technology Policy.

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