The following is a company-submitted press release and does not necessarily represent the views or opinions of School Planning & Management magazine.

South L.A. Young People Code Websites For Local Companies at CODEchella Event

Los Angeles, Calif. — On Saturday, April 11th, YouthBuild Charter School of California (YCSC), with generous support from Colocation America, will host CODEchella, an all-day website coding event at L.A. Trade Tech College from 8:00am to 8:00pm. At the event, forty students will work in teams with local technology mentors and web designers to build websites for local businesses. Industry professionals from local graphic design and tech companies, such as Factual, Second Spectrum, and The Think Farm, have volunteered to serve as mentors. The event is the culmination of a week of intensive classes in HTML, CSS, and Adobe Photoshop, designed to help these students learn skills that will translate into jobs to lift them out of poverty. A panel of industry leaders and teachers will judge the students’ websites, with awards for the best website design at the end of the night.

“We want to continue to provide our students with hands-on experiences in the field of computer science,” said YouthBuild Charter School of California Founder/CEO Phil Matero. “We teach our young people to be leaders and social justice advocates. Teaching them how to code will not only open the door to a potential career in the tech industry, but will also provide them with a new skillset to support their communities.”

The students will be designing websites for local clients to help give back to their community and promote small businesses. These businesses include La Taquiza, Custom Cakes, and four others. All of the students participating in the event are young people of color, between the ages of 16-24, who previously dropped out of high school.

“At Colocation America, we understand that to be successful long term, we must invest in the youth of today,” said Colocation America VP of Online Strategies Samantha Walters. “When YouthBuild Charter School approached us about sponsoring CODEchella, we jumped at the chance to provide these students with an opportunity to learn how to code and develop the skills needed to succeed in the tech industry.”

CODEchella is not only an excellent opportunity for YouthBuild Charter School of California students to learn from professionals in the field, it’s also a fantastic opportunity for local tech companies to give back to the community and work towards closing the Digital Divide in South Los Angeles.

“We are grateful for the opportunity to help equip this next generation of bright, hard-working engineers and entrepreneurs,” stated Eric Lui, Director of Data Operations at Factual. “The STEM workforce of 2040 won't-- and can't afford to-- overlook talent, wherever it grows.”

CODEchella is a rebrand and re-launch of YCSC’s successful WebSlam event that took place last April. In addition to CODEchella, YCSC has several other computer science initiatives taking place or currently in the works, including a Tech Entrepreneurs Computer Science class launched at the school’s South L.A. site in February.

“Our students are incredibly resilient and resourceful young people,” said the school’s STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) Coordinator Nadia Despenza. “These strengths are extremely useful in the field of computer science, where one must be creative and persevere through complex problem solving. I see computer science as a pathway for these young people to transcend some of the obstacles caused by poverty and strengthen their communities.”

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