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Hack the Hood is an economic development and job readiness program that trains youth in web/tech skills. This project based learning program gives local small business visibility in web and mobile search. The program works with leading Silicon Valley and Bay area tech companies to mentor youth, encourage entrepreneurship, and create jobs.
Low-cost smartphones now give low-income communities of color unprecedented access to the internet. A recent Pew study ( goo.gl/RvnRyS) found that Blacks and Latinos use mobile tech at rates far greater than white peers to connect, communicate, navigate, and shop. Even so, small business owners don’t have time, money or know-how to get their business online where their customers are.
Hack the Hood introduces low-income youth of color to high-growth tech careers by training them as web consultants to build mobile-friendlywebsites for small businesses in their communities. This makes it possible for customers to find and support businesses in the "Hood," keeping their money circulating where it can support local jobs.
In our 6-week "Boot Camp" and other workshops and training programs, building these sites is a "trojan horse" we use to teach youth career skills they’ll need in any 21st Century professional setting: accountability, teamwork, professionalism, customer service, public speaking, personal branding, and more. Youth graduate with:
A) Awareness of the diversity of jobs available in the tech field,
B) Skills they can use to freelance immediately, which helps fund continuing education,
C) Updated resumes and online portfolios for their job search, and
D) Relationships to mentors/tech professionals who give advice, referrals, and endorsements.