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Panasonic and the Hispanic Heritage Foundation will launch Code as a Second Language in greater Atlanta to introduce students to needed tech skills

Hispanic Heritage Foundation

Hispanic Heritage Foundation

Atlanta-area middle schoolers to participate in 8-week course designed to introduce them to the fundamentals of coding

ATLANTA – The Panasonic Foundation and the Hispanic Heritage Foundation (HHF) will launch a Code as a Second Language (CSL) effort at Sequoyah Middle School in Doraville, GA on September 25th. The CSL Academy is the second of a four-city initiative, which also includes Newark, NJ, , Reno, NV, and Calexico, CA. Hundreds of students will be introduced to and taught computer coding as a result of the CSL academies.

The CSL Academy in Doraville will launch on September 25th, 4:15-5:45 p.m., at the Sequoyah Middle School – 3456 Aztec Rd, Doraville, GA 30340. Media is invited to attend.

The effort is designed to bridge a gap between the business community’s need for talent with technology skills and for students to be exposed to computer science.  Among Black and Hispanic students, those who take Advanced Placement Computer Science in high school are 7 to 8 times more likely to take computer science in college, according to Code.org. In the United States, there are 500,000 unfilled jobs in tech, which is estimated to nearly triple to 1.4 million unfilled tech jobs by 2020.

Through this partnership, Panasonic and HHF will teach middle and high school kids to code and will expose them to tech professionals, who can serve as mentors.

“This collaborative partnership helps us address one of the most critical issues minority students are facing today,” said Alejandra Ceja, Executive Director Panasonic Foundation. “The harsh reality is that a lot of students of color in predominantly low-income areas do not have access to the full range of stem courses in their schools. Through this partnership, Panasonic is providing more students with hands-on access to innovation and technology that is crucial to the 21st century workforce.”

The Coding as a Second Language Panasonic Foundation effort will include Coding as a Second Language Academies, which are 6- to 8-week coding courses with students meeting once a week for 1 to 1.5 hour, either as part of their school day or as part of an afterschool program.

“Driving CSL is the fundamental belief that all youth deserve access to technology-based programs and the opportunity to enter the workforce in a stronger position which will help America move forward,” said Antonio Tijerino, President and CEO of HHF.

“The Panasonic Foundation shares that vision and we are grateful their leadership in preparing Latino youth for the classroom and workforce.”

The students will also be referred to the LOFT (Latinos On Fast Track) Network for ongoing on-line instruction and will connect to other students, mentors, networking, resources, STEM-related events and later potential internships and full-time positions with Fortune 500 companies. By 2020, more than half of all jobs will require technical skills, but a majority of students wouldn’t have learned coding in school.  Coding will also enable students to be creators, innovators and entrepreneurs rather than just consumers of technology.  CSL was established in Los Angeles in 2013 and by the end of this year will be in 75 regions, including Puerto Rico and Mexico, reaching more than 100,000 students.

About the Hispanic Heritage Foundation

 The Hispanic Heritage Foundation, a national nonprofit, concentrating on education, workforce, culture and leadership with a special focus on technology through the Code as a Second Language (CSL) program which includes academies, bootcamps, workshops, apprenticeships and sourcing talent for Fortune 500 Companies. HHF is headquartered in Washington, DC, and Los Angeles, with satellite workspaces in New York, Silicon Valley, San Antonio, and Miami (Visit www.HispanicHeritage.org).

About the Panasonic Foundation

 Panasonic Foundation is an operating, not grant-making, non-profit foundation whose mission is to advance equity in PreK-12 public education in the United States. From its creation in 1984, the Panasonic Foundation has been deeply rooted in advancing equity as the driver to improve the academic and social success of ALL students. The Foundation invests in the incubation of new ideas and public/private partnerships that directly support student achievement and in the development of skills and credentials students need to lead fulfilling and successful lives.  Learn more about Panasonic’s Office of Corporate Social Responsibility at https://na.panasonic.com/us/CSR.

For HHF and CSL programmatic information contact Technology and Innovation Manager, Alberto Avalos – alberto@hispanicheritage.org. For information regarding Panasonic contact Corporate PR, Gerald Rizzo (Gerald.Rizzo@us.panasonic.com)

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