Code Next is a free, computer science education program that meets Black and Latinx high school students in their own communities and provides the skills and inspiration they need for long and rewarding careers in computer science-related fields. At the moment, the Boys & Girls Club of Harlem Lab is one of three labs in the country. Our lab is run and managed in partnership with the New York Urban League and Emerging Leaders in Technology and Engineering (ELiTE). Learn more at g.co/codenext.
Two years ago, when Google launched Code Next, an initiative designed to find and foster the next generation of transformational Black and Latinx tech leaders, they wanted to expose kids to tech within their own communities. In 2016-2017, they opened up two labs (one in Chelsea, New York and one in Oakland, California) where high schoolers could learn about computer science for free and become their own creators of technology. Code Next supports Google’s commitment to diversity, endeavoring to attract, develop, progress, and retain more underrepresented talent at all levels of Google’s workforce.
But they always knew that they wanted to open up more Code Next labs—starting in Harlem. “We wanted to work with community experts who had deep roots in the communities we wanted to serve,” shares Google’s Code Next Program Lead, Peta-Gay Clarke.
In June, Code Next Harlem Alliance opened its doors to 43 rising ninth grade students. Throughout the academic year, students dedicate almost every Saturday to learning in the lab, engaging in a collection of STEM activities ranging from 3-D printing to creating online games. Ayan, for example, expresses excitement over learning about p5.js and Processing: “You can type in functions and make shapes. It’s really cool.”
Code Next Harlem Alliance is just the beginning of what we hope to build—and there are so many partners that make this work possible, from fellow tech companies to foundations to nonprofits. If you are interested in partnering with us, opening up a new lab, or getting further updates from Code Next, sign up for our quarterly newsletter.