Kids Code Mississippi pilots program in multi-family housing units

Kids Code Mississippi – a signature project of the Fast Forward Mississippi Initiative, is partnering with the Springboard to Opportunities organization to implement a computer science/coding education program designed specifically to be an extracurricular activity for children living in multi-family housing  units (apartments and other shared dwellings). The initial pilot program will specifically target African-American males of middle-school age, and be conducted at The Village apartment complex in Jackson, Mississippi.

“Just 2% of technology workers in Silicon Valley are African-American,” said Kids Code co-founder and Maris, West & Baker (MWB) partner Randy Lynn. “With the release of diversity data from several of America’s top technology firms, there is now an ongoing effort to increase minority access to technology education and improve these disparities.”

Efforts to diversify the knowledge worker pool compliments efforts to develop a knowledge-based workforce in Mississippi and reverse the state’s out migration of intellectual capital.

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“We see the opportunity to help develop the infrastructure for a knowledge-based economy, and provide the workforce capital that will attract leading edge companies and spur entrepreneurialism,” said Tim Mask, director of Fast Forward Mississippi and MWB partner. “This is a key component to breaking generational economic disparities and plugging our brain drain.”

Kids Code Mississippi will produce one-hour-long classes at The Village apartments on eight consecutive Saturdays beginning in early Fall, 2015. The initial program will have capacity for up to 15 boys. The Kids Code Mississippi course will focus on raising awareness of computer programming (both as a hobby and potential career) with a focus on game development. The course will also emphasize the importance of staying engaged with traditional school lessons, specifically math and science-based classes.

“Mississippi has always been full of creative, innovative, and motivated individuals,” said Lynn. We believe activities such as being conducted by Kids Code Mississippi will provide the early-learning boost that will ultimately position Mississippi as a mega-site in the knowledge economy.”

For more information, please contact Tim Mask.

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Kids Code Mississippi is a signature project of the Fast Forward Mississippi initiative. Kids Code Mississippi uses open source platforms and proprietary awareness-building outreach vehicles to encourage kids throughout Mississippi to learn how to be creators of technology, not just users of it.

Springboard to Opportunities connects families living in affordable housing with resources and programs that help them advance themselves in school, work and life. We do this by working directly with families, as well as by establishing strategic partnerships with other organizations that help residents achieve their goals.

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