HHF, Google & FIU Host LOFT Coding Jam

Alberto Avalos

Innovation and Technology Program Manager

MIAMI, FL – The Hispanic Heritage Foundation (HHF), Google and Florida International University (FIU) hosted a LOFT (Leaders On Fast Track) Coding Jam Session at FIU (Engineering and Computer Science Building Room 241, 11200 SW 8th Street, Miami, FL 33199) at 10 a.m., Saturday, June 14, in an effort to introduce minority youth to computer coding and career paths in technology fields to fill the skills gap in America. The free, bilingual Jam Session instructed minority youth on how to code with hip-hop, jazz, and salsa music playing in the background.  A Google Chromebook laptop was given to the student with the best idea to make a positive impact on their community.

“Driving this effort is the belief that all young people throughout our communities deserve access to technology-based programs and trainings,” said Antonio Tijerino, President and CEO of HHF. “It’s remarkable that in 2014 only one out of 10 high schools teach computer coding.  We are trying to fill that gap not only in education but in the workforce going forward through our partnership with Google.  There is no greater way to make an impact on society going forward than through technology.  We’re thrilled to be in Miami with FIU to make an impact.”

The Coding Jam was in conjunction with the Voto Latino Power Summit, a leadership conference to educate, empower, and engage Latino Millennials to create positive change in their communities. Voto Latino is a partner of HHF.

LOFT is HHF’s award-winning leadership and workforce development program and the Coding Jam Sessions – which are being executed in at least 10 cities – are part of LOFT’s Innovation & Technology Track is an area of focus. Other LOFT Tracks include Science & Healthcare, Engineering, Finance, Entrepreneurship, Education, Public Service, and Media & Entertainment.  Through a grant from the State of California, HHF will execute the LOFT Coding Jam Sessions in 30 schools in the Los Angeles County School District, which is the second largest in the country.

As follow up, HHF stays connected with the students through LOFTnetwork.org and will provide next-step curriculum online and even certificates of achievement when a level is reached.  HHF also video tapes the Jam Sessions to post online for students, educators, nonprofits and even parents to access the LOFT curriculum as an introduction to coding.

Interested middle school students may register here.