StreetCode Academy is a community-based nonprofit organization, based in East Palo Alto, CA, that provides free technology education to communities of color. Our goal is to equip our students with the skills, mindsets, and access to use technology and innovation to participate in the innovation economy, fulfill their potential, and positively transform the industry and broader culture. Since 2014, StreetCode has grown 10x, from serving 158 in our first year, to serving over 2,000 students in our 2019-20 program year--and a grand total of over 4,500 students overall to date. Over the last 5 years, students have completed over 400 projects. 95% of our alumni report that they have continued to independently engage in tech education after graduating from our programs. Additionally, 80% of our students use their skills for economic development, including applying for jobs, securing additional education, or creating their own business.
Underrepresented communities of color systemically lack access to inspiring, culturally-relevant technology education at the introductory level, where initial engagement and excitement about the tech innovation sector occurs. Low-income families of color that attempt to participate in the tech innovation are first presented with the barrier of exposure: as McKinsey & Company reports: “83 percent of lower-income and non-college graduate parents say they do not know how to help their child pursue computer science.”
StreetCode Academy is serving these communities who lack access to exposure, and also are prevented from reaching their full potential because of the profound systemic inequality in the limited educational and employment opportunities within their communities. In our work, 80% of our students come from East Palo Alto and Belle Haven, and 95% of our students come from low to moderate income households. 60% of our students are youth. 45% percent of our students are LatinX, 30% are African American, 15% are Pacific Islander, and 10% other.
The learning environment reinforces positive connections to their local communities, and since our programs are free, accessible and relevant, students and families consistently choose to engage with them.