Who We Serve
Praxis Connections, in partnership with Nyack College and churches in four neighborhoods (Bedford-Stuyvesant, East Flatbush, Harlem, and the South Bronx), will launch CODE FOR LIFE’S Creator & Maker Cross Training programs and serve a total of 160 middle school students across New York City in its initial year. Subsequently, CODE FOR LIFE will launch the Creator & Maker Cross Training courses at four more church locations and grow to 346 active participants by fall of 2018.
The Problem: A New Economy Requires New Skills
New York is our nation’s largest and most influential city. It is at the forefront of finance, fashion, publishing, and technology. It is a hub for international commerce and politics. It is also home to the greatest number of billionaires. New York’s five boroughs are teeming with diversity—containing over nine million residents who come from every nation in the world. And just over one million children attend a New York City public school. Sadly, in nineteen of the city’s districts, at least twenty-five percent of those children are living in poverty. In fourteen districts, ten percent of students are living in shelters. And in five districts, the number of students living in shelters exceeds fifteen percent. In short, there are roughly 105,000 homeless students in the New York City public school system, and eighteen percent of them are five years old or younger.
The graduation rate is sixty-five percent for black and Hispanic students and a dismal thirty-four percent for English language learners. As a result, too many of New York’s young people are not equipped for an employment environment that requires more than a high school education and unable to attain jobs in growing and emerging markets.
Technology is one the fastest growing job sectors in New York City, with Google, Facebook, FourSquare, and other companies located here. Further growth in technology is projected to increase by twenty-two percent before 2020 for IT-related jobs with salaries starting around $70,000. Investment in technology companies is also on the rise. As a result, with approximately 1.8 million IT jobs available today, there is currently only one engineer for every five positions. However, these positions are beyond the reach of most children living in poverty. They’re isolated from the opportunities and education required to participate in our new economy. As a result, many young people remain on the margins of society and see technology as something to use, but not as something they can create or contribute to. This is an unfortunate fact, especially when weighed against the ten percent or higher unemployment rate in twenty-six of New York City’s districts. The need to remove the financial and educational barriers to IT jobs for those in low-income neighborhoods is evident. Without intervention, the disadvantage of those living in poverty will only grow greater.