All Star Code: Creating Tech Career Opportunities for Our Sons

Does your teenaged son have an interest in a tech, coding or gaming career? All Star Code wants to help him pursue that interest. All Star Code is a new non-profit initiative that seeks to attract, prepare, and place high-potential, qualified young black men in the tech-career pipeline and help them achieve full-time employment at technology companies early in their careers.

Last Saturday All Star Code launched “Design a Start-up in a Day”, the first of its three introductory recruiting workshops planned for this fall. Nearly 20 high school students spent the day in Spotify’s new NYC headquarters learning to “wireframe” a mock startup company. Students worked on their start-up ideas throughout the day, presented their business plans and pitches to an expert panel of judges, and the judges chose a winning idea. During the day the students also spent time touring the music company’s brand-new offices, meeting mentors who are active technology professionals, and learning about All Star Code’s upcoming summer program.

In the Summer of 2014 All Star Code will offer a six-week Summer Intensive Program targeting 20 of the best & brightest All Stars. The program will include a rigorous programming course and a comprehensive curriculum of entrepreneurial “soft skills” (leadership, innovation, team-work, etc.) that will help All Star Code graduates stand out years later when they enter the talent pipeline of top companies and startups.

All Star Code founder Christina Lewis Halpern, former business reporter for the Wall Street Journal, created this organization in an effort to close the systemic opportunity gap between young black men and the tech industry. Halpern, whose late father, Reginald F. Lewis, was one of the most successful Black businessmen in U.S. history, was inspired to create All Star Code by a Harvard law summer program her father attended years ago that recruited and positioned young black men for success at the school. As Halpern explained in a recent article in Fast Company found here, “I thought, If my father were a young man today, where would he want to go? He wouldn’t want to go to law school. He’d want to be in Silicon Valley. So I thought, well, are there any black people in the space? No.”

Halpern and All Star Code are working to help increase the number of African-Americans on startup founding teams (we now comprise less than 1% of these teams) and in the tech industry generally. Want to learn more? Click here to go to Allstarcode.org.

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