TEACHING CODING TO REFUGEES IN UTAH
We’re proud to announce that Cotopaxi and the Utah Refugee Services Office have come together to launch a skills-based volunteer program focused on building computer science capacity here in Utah. We’re calling it the Refugee Coding Project.
At Cotopaxi, we’re committed to empowering people to lift themselves out of poverty by creating sustainable income opportunities. Teaching computer science fits perfectly with this strategy, as it creates a pathway to jobs, addressing one of the fundamental needs of a community of more than 60,000 refugees in the State of Utah.
The coding program initially began in partnership with the Bhutanese refugee community, where we saw incredible results. Because of this success, community leaders and youth from five other key refugee communities in Salt Lake City requested the program and we have quickly scaled to meet that demand.
We invite you to learn more about the communities involved and why these families were compelled to leave their home countries:
“Refugees are people who have been forced to flee their home countries because of persecution. Less than one percent of the refugees in the world receive permanent resettlement offers in countries like the United States. The refugees brought to our community are the epitome of human resilience. They are heroes who make our community stronger. The best thing a person can do to help is to befriend a refugee. The next best thing is to hire a refugee.”
- Gerald Brown, Director, Utah Refugee Services Office
WHY WE’RE INVESTING IN COMPUTER SCIENCE
Computer science drives innovation throughout the U.S. economy, but it remains marginalized throughout K-12 education. There are currently 583,155 open computing jobs nationwide. Last year, only 59,764 computer science students graduated into the workforce.
Besides addressing the widening talent gap, jobs in computer science are typically well-paying, offering tremendous opportunity for communities with limited access to expensive formal education.
Each weekend an amazing group of professionals from Cotopaxi and our community partners volunteer their time to teach Code.org’s accelerated computer science curriculum. Enrichment workshops follow and complement what the students learn in the Code.org curriculum. The workshops focus on experiential learning and cover topics like robotics, app invention, and filmmaking.
The computer science curriculum is complemented by filmmaking and storytelling workshops provided by Westminster College, which will culminate into a feature-length film showcasing the evolution of the course as well as the journey of five students.
We invite you to help us build the next generation of computer scientists in Utah by leveraging your team's time and talent for good! Please reach out to Lindsey Kneuven, Cotopaxi’s Chief Impact Officer, who oversees Cotopaxi's entire giving program. She is happy to help your organization contribute to our holistic computer science training program in Utah.Join Us