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21st Century Youth Project Summer of Code

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This project was submitted by an applicant to the Digital Media and Learning Competition.

21st Century Youth Project Summer of Code

21st Century Youth Project

Program Summary

American students rank 25th in math and 21st in science, compared with students in 30 industrialized countries. The Broad Foundation estimates $192 billion in lost income and taxes due to dropouts each year. Placement rates for Computer Science students can range upwards of 95% at leading universities. The 21st Century Youth Project’s (21CYP) mission is based on closing the technological achievement gap for students who lack access to good resources, while giving them marketable entrepreneurial skills to join the global STEM workforce. 21CYP will service 200 low-income students grades 5-12 at our 10,000sq.ft tech incubator, Blue1647 (formerly Cibola) and the 10,000 sq.ft Firehouse Community Arts Center through a simple approach: STEM learning through real-life application.
21CYP teaches technology as a path to opportunity. It is a free comprehensive program that prepares low-income middle and high school students for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) careers. The program focuses on improving skills today (through immersive teaching and tutoring), tomorrow (through coaching and mentoring), and the future (through internship placement and Alumni Community) with an entrepreneurial focus. Key deliverables for student participants are the creation of mobile (Google Android, iPhone, etc.) and web apps for accompanying business plans, accrual of college credits and case studies on their resumes and digital portfolios from hands-on skills gained through internship placements.

21CYP harnesses students’ natural enthusiasm for technology, shows them how they too can become the designers and programmers of the future, while delivering critical math and science skills. We give students the chance to succeed by accessing tools that engage their interests and develop their leadership skills through entrepreneurial activity while having fun. We not only develop the skills needed to succeed in the 21st century workplace, but also give students the confidence to succeed in all areas of learning while creating marketable products.


21CYP has developed its core class offerings and continues to research for the latest best-case programs. We strive to engage students with active, hands-on approaches that produce students who are proud of their accomplishments. This type of training not only motivates students to be in the program, but it also excites them to see what other things they can accomplish.

Based on our program model several levels of engagement events:
10-13 week phases:

• Phase 1: Immersion/Engagement

• Phase 2: Concept Development

• Phase 3: Business Course

• Phase 4: Post-21CYP Access

LEARN (Course Series):
1) “Haute & Smart: Girls in Fashion Tech” Series to Combine Cutting-Edge Technology & Fashion – Young girls (who already have an interest in fashion and/or technology) will be instructed in sewing, design, 3D printing and software programming, culminating with a fashion show displaying the students wear-able designs and lessons learned.

2) Intro to HTML5/CSS/JavaScript for mobile (iOS/Android/Windows): Students will be instructed on fundamental web programming languages, coupled with web and mobile UX/UI design, creating amazing native apps on Android and iOS. After completing this course students will have a tangible app product in the marketplace and a developed digital portfolio.

3) Intro to DJ-ing and HTML: We cover every aspect of the DJ craft from a creative, technical, and business perspective. Students then spend time learning fundamentals of the DJ craft including basic mixing, blending, and cueing techniques. Students also learn how to use the latest DJ software, Serato SCRATCH Live while acquiring basic HTML coding skills to develop their websites — culminating with a mix tape project produced by the students at the end of the session.

All 3 programs, which target different demographics culminates with a Hackathon, bridging differences through civic app tech, where we’ve done several civic hacks at our space, including being the site for the National Day of Civic Hacking for Chicago. Prof. Cambry sits on the grant panel for the Illinois Digital Media Production Fund. The grant funding will supply us with equipment at BLUE1647 and the Firehouse that will be used to train hundreds of students for years.

Students will also explore a future in math, science, entrepreneurship, and advanced computer engineering through classes, workshops and competitions (hackathons). Notable Program Components include: Mobile App and Web Development, MS Software Certifications training, SAT Math Training, Business Planning, Mentorship, Tutoring, Student Consulting Projects (Experiential Learning), Industry Internship Placement, Alumni Community, the Digital Access Program with a series of globally recognized CompTia technology certification classes (beginning with Basic Computer Skills if needed) including A+, Network+ and Server+. While learning these computer skills and preparing for certification, students are also required to participate in leadership development, work readiness or soft skills development (interviewing, conflict resolution, addressing barriers to employment, etc.) In addition, our partner Hire Learning Career Development Academy is one of only 3 agencies in the entire State of Illinois certified to offer the National Career Readiness Certification.

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