The Knowledge House’s Intro to Tech is a profiled program in the Plugging In Report.
Who is served: Young adults
Number of participants served annually: 380
Location: Multiple locations in the Bronx, Harlem, and Washington Heights
Frequency/Duration: 3–12 months. Evening and weekend courses available
Eligibility Criteria: Must be a New York City residents 16–30 years old who makes less than $50,000
Application process: Attend info session, online application
Curriculum: Web development, Digital skills training
Skill level: Intro
Outcomes: Bridge employment, internship, part time jobs, freelance opportunities
Partnerships: Tech Talent Pipeline,Bronx CUNY, Workforce1 Career Center, FWD.us, Petrie Foundation, JobsFirstNYC, Kapor Center, New York Community Trust, Siegel Family Foundation, REDF, Arbor Brothers, The Carroll and Milton Petrie Foundation
Sources of funding: Tech Talent Pipeline; corporate and philanthropic partners
What makes this program stand out? The Knowledge House—one of the few tech training programs located in the Bronx—was founded in 2014 with a mission to create a sustainable tech talent pipeline for high school students and young adults. “A lot of tech training providers either live in the K–12 space or they live in the workforce space. We straddle both fields,” says co-founder Jerelyn Rodriguez. “The way we intend to sustain the pipeline is to serve students from high school until they get their first job in tech.”
Students participate in a 3- to 12-month program focused on software development skills. Rodriguez says they chose to build a program around software development to fill the gaps in the availability of nonprofit-run hard tech skills programs. The Knowledge House focuses on building stackable credentials that include project management skills and business software (i.e. Slack, Google Drive). It has also started offering a data science course that provides a foundation in Python.
Recently, Rodriguez launched the Bronx Digital Pipeline (BxDP) in partnership with all 3 Bronx-based CUNY schools. BxDP connects out-of-school young adults to training customized to employer needs, leading to entry-level tech jobs. BxDP operates as a referral system for Bronx residents receiving tech training.
What does the organization need? Stronger and clearer relationship with tech companies to scale the program. The organization notes that while corporate groups often volunteer or donate to their program, the Knowledge House lacks meaningful engagement that results in companies hiring students from the program.