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Coding in Schools program can help diversify tech fields in Baltimore

Posted at 4:20 PM, Mar 31, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-07 16:37:40-04

BALTIMORE — Well Code in the Schools is the nonprofit who organizes a youth program “Code works,” it’s where students can gain valuable knowledge and experience while learning about the field of computer science.

"Our mission is really to expand access and to address the diversity issues in technology," said Gretchen LeGrand, CEO of Code in Schools.

Code in the Schools was founded in 2013 with a mission to promote computer science education.

"The awesome thing about this program is that it is for students who are interested in learning about careers in technology, and learning to code, and getting those technology skills," said LeGrand.

With less minorities like women and people of color who go into the technology fields, organizers say its why they’re giving youth ages 14 – 21 the opportunity to gain valuable insight and experience learning how to code.

"So we have tracks in cyber security, tracks and software development, video game development, web development, they can really do whatever interest them," said LeGrand.

Students who apply for this summer program through youth works spend 5 weeks getting paid to learn how to code.

"And through our partnership with University of Baltimore high school, students can also earn a transferable college credit all for free," said LeGrand.

And if you are already in college , you can potentially earn internship credits.

"In addition to sort of their technology training, we also incorporate a lot of the softer professional skills and life skills so we do a lots of financial literacy and socio emotional learning, said LeGrand. "So they really getting a full wraparound experience in addition to that coding."

In Baltimore City there are over 1,000 open computing jobs and in Maryland there are more than 20,000.

"I’m a product of the youth works program, my first job was at 14," said Dionne Joyner-Weems. "The more diversity you have around the table, more sustainable solutions you can create."

"We know that things developed in the future are going to be better for the world when they’re created by more diverse populations," said LeGrand. "If you want to send your kid to a space where they will be valued and appreciated and uplifted and celebrated this is definitely the program."

There are 130 spots in the code works program and so far around 70 have applied and the deadline is tomorrow.

The program is five weeks it runs from July 5 to August 5th. It’s 25 hours a week that they get paid for.

To qualify you don’t have to have any coding experience, you just have to be a Baltimore City resident and apply through youth works if you want to get paid.

You can apply to the program here.