Why Youth Learning Code
There are two problems:
- A lack of Full Stack Developers
Poverty is a lack of opportunity. Fulfill the need for developers and you kill two birds with one stone, right?
Youth Learning Code (YLC) trains at-risk youth ages 13-29 to be Full Stack Developers; plus a little bit more. The program has four parts:
- Coding (of course)
- Personal Development
- Professional Development
- Adventurous Journeys
The coding is simple but intense. We start with HTML & CSS – the basics. By the end, we dive into Linux System Administration, advanced web development, Node.js, and several languages. Participants graduate as a Full Stack Developer with experience in LAMP, WAMP, and WordPress stacks.
Personal and Professional Development are the answer to employer complaints. It’s already hard to find a Full Stack Developer, right? And when someone does find a person with the coding skills, it often turns out they have no people skills. And you know how much today’s workplace demands people work in teams.
So we make sure to cover self-image, financial literacy, teamwork, project management, and a long list of topics that help participants become fully developed people in addition to being a Full Stack Developer.
The adventurous journeys are the fun part.
Participants choose a place to go, plan the trip, and then lead. We do lots of day trips so they get the hang of planning and leading. Then we do bigger trips a couple times each year. The big trips are a few days so participants each take responsibility for something specific each day. That way, they all get leadership experience. They also pick up skills that just never develop in a classroom or workplace.
Getting out in the woods for a few days shows them they can live without a cell phone. They learn to rely on themselves and each other.
That’s the opportunity: Become an independent, responsible adult with the skills to land a $50K job.
The Youth Learning Code Team
Conrad Hall (Founder)
Conrad is a retired carpenter, veteran, and author of seven books on marketing. He is the founder of Youth Learning Code. His purpose is “to find teenagers who are like I was and keep them from walking the darker paths I’ve travelled.”
He is neither angel nor saint, and makes no secret of his past. In fact, his life story is the subject of his latest book. While there is no pride in the negatives, Conrad does see his past as key to gaining credibility with court involved, street involved, at-risk youth.
His goal is to give youth an opportunity. His motto is Cranium Ex Rectum.
Learning Enrichment Foundation
LEF is the Trustee for YLC in addition to providing space for the program. The good folks at LEF provide governance and guidance.
LEF has a long history of working with youth and technology. They were the first not-for-profit organization to be certified as a Microsoft Partner. One of the reasons they decided to support YLC is that it helps bring them back to their roots.
Please do make time to visit www.lefca.org and read more about the many programs and projects LEF provides.
These are the folks providing computers for YLC. After all, there’s little point to training someone as a Full Stack Developer without also making sure they have a computer, right?
reBOOT Canada is also working with YLC to develop an additional piece for the program. It would be a great benefit for participants to learn how to assemble computers and servers. That means they understand where coding stops and fixing the hardware starts.