Google & LOFT Coding Jams Reach 1,000’s of Students!

Alberto Avalos

Innovation and Technology Program Manager

Chromebooks Provided to Students with Most Innovative Ideas

WASHINGTON, DC – The Hispanic Heritage Foundation (HHF) and Google announced it would expand the LOFT (Latinos On Fast Track) Coding Jam Sessions in the second half of 2014 after the great success of the first half of the year.  Thousands of minority students have been introduced to computer coding and STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and math) through the free, bilingual Jam Sessions. The Sessions instructed minority youth on how to code using HTML and CSS while hip-hop, jazz and salsa music played in the background.  A Google Chromebook laptop was provided to students who presented with the best innovative social ideas.  (HHF followed up the introduction phase with an online curriculum and provided certification after students completed the level. Students were  connected to HHF and each other through LOFTnetwork.org.)

“Driving this effort is the belief that all youth deserve to have access to high-level technology programs and trainings,” said Antonio Tijerino, President of HHF. “It’s critical we prepare youth for careers in an area in which our workforce has the greatest need.  We are thrilled to partner with Google and innovative educational institutions to inspire and equip minority youth to be world-class innovators.  There is no greater way to make an impact than through technology to move not just the Latino community forward but America forward.”

Google and HHF have worked nationally to combat an educational and workforce development crossroads: in the next 10 years there will be approximately one million more jobs in the US tech sector than qualified computer science grads to fill them (90 percent of K-12 schools don’t teach computer coding).  HHF has also worked hard to offer a Coding Jam Session through game-based coding concepts for K-6 grade which  provided game-based, computer science concepts.  LOFT’s Jam Sessions plus Video Gaming and Phone App challenge and other programs have been designed to fill the void in education and workforce development in America.

Cities included for 2014:

  • Minneapolis, MN
  • Omaha, NE
  • Atlanta, GA
  • Orlando, FL
  • Washington, DC
  • Austin, TX
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • Ann Arbor, MI
  • Silicon Valley, CA
  • Brooklyn, NY
  • San Antonio, TX
  • Wheaton, MD
  • East Lansing, MI
  • Miami, FL
  • Pittsburgh, PA

HHF’s award-winning LOFT leadership and workforce development program is divided into 10 “Tracks,” or industries, which are priorities for America including Innovation & Technology, Science & Healthcare, Engineering, Finance, Entrepreneurship, Education, Public Service, Law, Media & Entertainment, and Latinas.  Tens of thousands of students and young professionals are connected to each other, guides and resources; over 50 trainings, workshops, and informal Charlas are hosted across the country and online; creative initiatives are executed; and hundreds of minorities are placed into internships, mentorships, fellowships and full-time positions with Fortune 500 companies and government agencies.  Visit www.loftinnovation.org, and join http://loftnetwork.org to get on the fast track to leadership.