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City and Cultivating Coders Partner to Bridge the Digital Divide in Albuquerque

City Supporting Digital Skill-Based Learning in Underserved Communities

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – On Friday, Mayor Tim Keller, Economic Development Director Synthia R. Jaramillo, and Cultivating Coders CEO Charles Ashley, III, launched a partnership to bridge the digital divide in Albuquerque. The City will fund a free, project-based digital skill training series over the next several months to be hosted at City of Albuquerque Community Centers.

“The younger generation of our workforce, especially in underserved communities, can face a skills gap that creates a barrier to fully participating in our community,” said Mayor Keller. “We’re working with Cultivating Coders to empower the next generation of Albuquerque workers with the skills and experience local employers are looking for. Together we’re building an economy that works for everyone.”

“Not every person in Albuquerque wants or needs to obtain a college degree. These partnerships help our residents who aren’t looking for a four-year degree find an alternate path to success by accessing the skill-based training needed to build their careers. We are also positioning Albuquerque’s economy for success for years to come,” said Synthia Jaramillo, City of Albuquerque Economic Development Director.

“DigiEquity is a 100% project-based program that will expose and teach people the relationship between technology, lifelong learning, personal privacy and stewardship of information. DigiEquity is applicable across all age groups, sectors, and expertise.” said Charles Ashley III, Cultivating Coders, Chief Executive Officer

Cultivating Coders, established in 2015, is an intensive project-based computer science program working to bridge the digital divide across New Mexico providing digital-skill training to underserved communities in locations such as inner-city neighborhoods, Native American reservations, and rural communities. More than 200 students have gone through the program over the past four years.

This summer, Cultivating Coders had 36 students, ages 14-18, focused on Collaboration in the online environment (Asana, Trello, Google Docs, Slack), Cloud Software/document management (Google Suite, Microsoft Online, Dropbox) and Social Media Savvy (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter)

This September and October and early parts of 2020, Cultivating Coders will open its program for the first time to a larger portion of the public to include students’ high school aged and up, but there is no set criteria or requirements to get into the program. Students will have an opportunity to gain digital skills in a wide variety of digital formats and platforms. Participants will be able to use these learned skills and the appropriate technology to communicate and collaborate with peers, employers, family, and the public. Along with the ability to use these skills to actively participate in civic society, they will be able to contribute to a vibrant informed and engaged society.

The City’s Economic Development Department is working to build an economy for everyone. Part of that mission is investing in workforce training. By supporting programs like Cultivating Coders, The City is providing opportunities to underserved populations and investing in providing employers with a skilled and available workforce.

The first set of workshops will be held on September 7th, 14th, 21st, and 28th at Vizionz-Sankofa in the International District. Future workshops will be held in October at Los Duranes Community Center and in February in Cesar Chavez Community Center. For information please email [email protected].