In Washington, D.C. and surrounding areas, Black-owned tech companies abound. Many are youth focused and have opportunities for all children, regardless of skill level. Recognizing that tech is a growing industry, these companies want to create a pipeline for Black children who may or may not have considered tech as a career. According to Lateefah Durant, Vice President of innovation for DC’s CityBridge initiative, “Young people are looking for opportunities for employment,” Durant said. “I think they have an understanding that the tech industry is growing and in-demand. They have an understanding that it offers opportunities and options that don’t exist in other career fields.” Check out these agencies on the frontlines of teaching Black children how to code, hack and build websites.
Students who join the D.C. chapter of BDPA, formerly known as Black Data Processing Associates, will have access to a multitude of programming like web development, game development and multimedia tracks. There are competitions, scholarships and hosted events, all part of its Student Information Technology Education and Scholarship program.
2. Boys and Girls Club of Greater Washington
Every major city has a Boys and Girls Club. In D.C., the Boys and Girls club partnered with Consumer Technology Association for tech classes for kids and teenagers. In addition to STEM, youth will learn about energy and urban infrastructure. They even have a new digital lab at Benning Road NE sponsored by Comcast.
Starting in the 11th grade, high school students can apply for a three-year, paid apprenticeship program as part of Washington, D.C.’s CityBridge program. The goal is to match youth with careers in tech, including cyber security, information technology, business operations and financial services, in partnership with local tech companies.
4. High School Technology Services
With over 50 course offerings in web and mobile app development; computer, coding and tech training plus six-week bootcamps for teens and adults, HSTC has everything your child needs to learn and master the tech world. Students can take online classes or work with local with entities including D.C.’s HashFlow, Maya Angelou Public Charter Schools and The Linux Foundation, among others. Scholarships are available ranging from a 25% discount to tuition-free.
5. Mission Fulfilled 2030
Founded by Gerald Moore, Sr., Mission Fulfilled 2030 was born out of his passion to bridge the technological gaps for Black children from low, underserved communities. “Our vision to Inspire, Educate & Activate 100,000 at-risk youth of the BIPOC community in tech/STEM bridging the digital divide, making a dent in the income to wealth gap, and creating young men who will be community builders while developing diverse talent to fill the predicted digital/high-tech workforce shortage of 2030.”