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HHF & Mary’s Center Host LOFT Coding Jam for Youth

Hispanic Heritage Foundation

Hispanic Heritage Foundation


Effort was Part of Code as a Second Language (CSL) Initiative to Teach Coding to Latinos in US

WASHINGTON, DC – The Hispanic Heritage Foundation (HHF) and Mary’s Center hosted a LOFT (Latinos On Fast Track) Coding Jam Session for high school students on May 11, 4 – 6 p.m., at Mary’s Center, 3912 Georgia Ave, NW, Washington, DC, which introduced minority youth to computer coding and career paths in technology fields to fill the workforce skills gap in the US. The free, bilingual Jam Session taught an introduction to coding while hip-hop, jazz, and salsa music played in the background.  The Coding Jam Session was part of  HHF’s broader Code as a Second Language (CSL) initiative.

“Driving the CSL effort is the belief that all young people in our communities deserve to learn the highest-demand skill in America – coding,” said Antonio Tijerino, President and CEO of HHF. “It’s remarkable that in 2015 only one out of 10 high schools teach computer coding yet currently there are over half a million tech jobs unfilled and a need for another 1.4 million tech jobs over the next five years. We are trying to fill that gap with Latino talent that often is overlooked in the tech space.  As a community we have a value proposition for America going forward and we’re thrilled to partner with our friends at Mary’s Center to make an impact.”

After the Coding Jam Session, the students were funneled to the for ongoing on-line instruction and were connected with other students, mentors, networking, resources, STEM-related events, and later potential internships and full-time positions with Fortune 500 companies.  CSL has also been  implemented in 10 other regions across the US, and included up to 30 schools in Los Angeles.  This summer, CSL is being taught at the Mexican Consulate in San Jose and Washington, DC, as pilots for a broader effort to teach immigrants how to code from the time they arrive in the United States.  To learn more about CSL or to request CSL come to a school or community, visit


HHF’s award-winning LOFT leadership and workforce development program is divided into 10 priorities or Tracks including Innovation & Technology, Engineering, Science, Healthcare, Finance, Entrepreneurship, Education, Public Service, Media & Entertainment, and Latinas.  Tens of thousands of students and young professionals (ages 15-35) in the LOFT Network are connected to each other, mentors and resources; attend over 75 trainings, workshops, and informal Charlas hosted across the country and online; creative initiatives are developed and executed; and hundreds are placed into internships, mentorships, fellowships and full-time positions with Fortune 500 companies and government agencies. LOFT has been recognized by The White House, Congress, the government of Mexico, Fortune 500 companies, and other nonprofits.  Southwest Airlines is the Official Airline of the LOFT program.


About HHF

The Hispanic Heritage Foundation, which was originally established by the White House in 1988, inspires, prepares, positions and connects Latino leaders in the classroom, community and workforce to meet America’s priorities. HHF also promotes cultural pride, accomplishment, and the great promise of the community through public awareness campaigns seen by millions.  HHF is headquartered in Washington, DC, and has offices in Los Angeles, Miami, New York and the LOFT Institute is housed at Michigan State University (Visit


About Mary’s Center

Mary’s Center, founded in 1988, is a Federally Qualified Health Center that provides health care, family literacy and social services to individuals whose needs too often go unmet by the public and private systems. Mary’s Center uses a holistic, multipronged approach to help each participant access individualized services that set them on the path toward good health, stable families, and economic independence. The Center offers high-quality, professional care in a safe and trusting environment to residents from the entire DC metropolitan region, including individuals from over 110 countries. (Visit


Contact:  Alberto Avalos,, 323.397.9862


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