CSL in 10 Nat’l Markets: 30 Next Fall

Alberto Avalos

Innovation and Technology Program Manager

HISPANIC HERITAGE FOUNDATION COMPLETES ‘CODE AS A SECOND LANGUAGE’ (CSL) COURSE IN 10 CITIES  – WILL BE TAUGHT AT UP TO 30 SCHOOLS IN LOS ANGELES STARTING IN THE FALL 

CSL Being Piloted at the Mexican Consulate this Summer 

WASHINGTON, DC – The Hispanic Heritage Foundation (HHF) and partners completed the Code as a Second Language (CSL) course in 10 markets at middle and high schools and with the Kid Museum for K-6 in an effort to engage, introduce and teach computer coding to Latino students.  HHF and corporate partners presented the students with certificates of completion at during the final class and coordinated visits to corporate offices including Google’s to further encourage tech as a career path.  This summer in partnership with Saber es Poder, CSL is being taught at the Mexican Consulate in San Jose as a pilot to be expanded to other consulates across the US in an effort to teach immigrants how to code from the time they arrive.  In the fall, CSL will be in up to 30 schools in Los Angeles To learn more about CSL or to request CSL come to a school or community, visit www.loftcsl.org.

“In order to provide America with a value proposition through Latino youth, we need to work backwards from what America needs most,” said Jose Antonio Tijerino, President and CEO of HHF. “Today and in the future, the need is in the STEM fields and especially in technology, yet only one out of 10 schools teaches computer coding.  We believe the next great innovator will be a Latino or Latina, perhaps sitting in the classrooms we are teaching across the country.  We are always trying to get creative in ways to stimulate our community but moreover our country with a stronger workforce and more innovative minds going forward.”

As of today, there are 500,000 vacant tech jobs in the US with an additional need to fill 1.4 million more tech jobs in the next five years and only 400,000 computer science majors currently in college.  Yet 90 percent of schools teach computer science.

The CSL concept is that in order to thrive in America’s workforce, Latinos need to learn the language of code the way they learned English.  CSL instructors, or CSL Fellows, are members of HHF’s Latinos On Fast Track (LOFT) Network and “eco-system” of talent. CSL efforts included: identification of key performance indicators (KPIs) in collaboration with school; baseline survey of students knowledge to test progress throughout CSL course; guest speakers from tech industry; engagement of private and public sector volunteers; eight, 1-2-hour sessions depending on school schedule; hands-on assistance for students working on course material outside of class time; soft skill development such as leadership and collaboration; work-based learning such as building actual products and present them to peers; and certifications upon completion.  The students will also be funneled to the LOFTnetwork.org for ongoing on-line instruction and connected to other students, mentors, networking, resources, STEM-related events, and later potential internships and full-time positions with Fortune 500 companies.