Tech Up Gives Teens Digital Direction | chelseanow.com

Tech Up Gives Teens Digital Direction

Michael Kelly, General Manager for NYCHA, with Tech Up students Rhen Rodriguez (left) and Victor Liriano. Photo courtesy NYCHA.

Michael Kelly, General Manager for NYCHA, with Tech Up students Rhen Rodriguez (left) and Victor Liriano. Photo courtesy NYCHA.

BY WINNIE McCROY | First they cut the ribbon, then they began coding. Elliott-Chelsea and Fulton Houses residents, ages 16–24, now have a local resource to help them train for the 21st century job market. The new Tech Up program is a partnership between Hudson Guild, Jamestown, L.P., NYCHA, and media/tech educator The LAMP.

“We are just in our first weeks of operation, but the program is intended to operate in cohorts of 20 to 25 kids. We currently have 25 students between our morning and evening sessions, which is a fantastic start to this brand-new program,” said Ken Jockers, Executive Director of Hudson Guild.

The new Hudson Guild Tech Lab and Tech Up program (418 W. 17th St., btw. Ninth & 10th Aves.) was paid for by Jamestown, L.P., who also footed the bill for the first few years of operating expenses. Jockers said they expect to serve 120 teens a year, in these 20-per-class cohorts, and expects that Tech Up will be integrated into Hudson Guild’s ongoing programming operations for the foreseeable future.

“The goal of the program is allowing young people to develop skills and abilities, which for some young people will mean computer science,” said Jockers, adding, “but we recognize that not every young person will take that path, and we want them to get abilities every working person needs in any industry now. Computers and technology are a fundamental part of all of us, and our jobs, no matter what you do. We want Tech Up to be a place where young people develop all the skills they need for potential employers, not just for those kids who go into computer science-related fields.”

L to R: William Floyd, Head of External Affairs for Google New York; Minerva Tantoco, Chief Technology Officer of New York City; Tech Up student Priscilla Allen; Miguel Acevedo, President of the Fulton Houses Tenant Association; Michael Kelly, General Manager for NYCHA; Michael Phillips, CEO of Jamestown; Ken Jockers, Executive Director of Hudson Guild. Photo courtesy Hudson Guild.

L to R: William Floyd, Head of External Affairs for Google New York; Minerva Tantoco, Chief Technology Officer of New York City; Tech Up student Priscilla Allen; Miguel Acevedo, President of the Fulton Houses Tenant Association; Michael Kelly, General Manager for NYCHA; Michael Phillips, President of Jamestown, L.P.; Ken Jockers, Executive Director of Hudson Guild. Photo courtesy Hudson Guild.

Tech Up students will learn the Adobe Creative Cloud software, video production and graphic design, as well as basic coding and web design knowledge necessary to work in marketing, publishing, the nonprofit sector, media, or anywhere basic digital skills are required. They’ll also discuss issues such as digital footprints and digital privacy, and examine ways to responsibly manage their own online presence.

Students will collaborate on entrepreneurship projects and client-based projects that challenge and showcase their communication and networking skills. At the end of the course, they will emerge with a digital portfolio, a resume, interview practice, and be well on their way to landing an internship or job. 

To that end, Tech Up has assembled a teaching staff that is a combination of skilled Hudson Guild employees, members of Girls Who Code, and The LAMP (Learning About Multimedia Project), a New York City-based nonprofit that “empowers youth to talk back to media.” Founded in 2007, it focuses on “teaching people to think critically about media content.” 

“The ability to think critically is essential today, given that we’re so saturated with media and technology,” said Alan Berry, Education Director at The LAMP. “It’s not enough just to learn how to use media technologies; you also need to understand why media is created, by whom and for whom, and you should be able to interpret the information being communicated by the media you’re consuming. The LAMP is preparing Tech Up students to be responsible, active world citizens, equipped with the skills to thrive in the modern workplace and beyond.”

“The Tech Lab and its Tech Up program is an important step in preparing all New Yorkers for the 1.4 million tech jobs we expect to see by 2020,” echoed Michael Phillips, President of Jamestown, L.P.

Early adopter: A member of Tech Up’s inaugural program, whose classes are taught by Hudson Guild employees, members of Girls Who Code, and The LAMP (Learning About Multimedia Project). Photo courtesy Hudson Guild.

Early adopter: A member of Tech Up’s inaugural program, whose classes are taught by Hudson Guild employees, members of Girls Who Code, and The LAMP (Learning About Multimedia Project). Photo courtesy Hudson Guild.

“Jamestown’s collaboration with the Hudson Guild, Google, NYCHA, and NYC’s Chief Technology Officer Minerva Tantoco points to the importance of public/private partnerships to effectuate good progress for New Yorkers,” noted Phillips.

The program has also received generous assistance from nearby media giant Google, who has reportedly paid for all of the technology in the center, including computers and Smart Boards. Jockers said that Hudson Guild expects to work with Google going forward.

“Google has been an incredible neighbor since they moved to Chelsea, and have supported our programming on a whole variety of levels,” said Jockers. “They have hosted all sorts of job-related educational activities for participants at the Guild for several years. We have worked with them as part of this new programming, and also talked to them about job shadowing opportunities and other in-place learning possibilities, and are looking forward to doing something with them.”

Jockers hoped that Google would offer some internships to graduates of the program, and is also anticipating the possibility that Jamestown, L.P. and others in the Chelsea Market space can help provide graduates with internships.

L to R: Leroy Williams, Manhattan Community Operations Deputy Director for NYCHA, and William Floyd, Head of External Affairs for Google New York. Photo courtesy Hudson Guild.

L to R: Leroy Williams, Manhattan Community Operations Deputy Director for NYCHA, and William Floyd, Head of External Affairs for Google New York. Photo courtesy Hudson Guild.

“Jamestown has committed to work with us, first in getting these teens in our program, and now that it’s starting, we are looking forward to figuring out how they can help with internship possibilities,” said Jockers. 

Upon completing this intensive Tech Up program, students should have all the digital and media skills they need to be competitive in the modern workplace. The project is also notable in that it serves as an indicator that

Jamestown, L.P. appears to be honoring their pledge to provide resources for local youth — part of the stipulations negotiated when Community Board 4 (after a long period of vocal opposition from some in the community) agreed to a massive vertical expansion of the historic Chelsea Market building.

“After I got my diploma through Hudson Guild’s Pathways to Graduation program, I started working, and got really interested in audio production. When I heard about this program, I signed up right away,” said 19-year-old Elliott-Chelsea Houses resident Victor Liriano.

“I’m learning some audio production here, and having the in-house recording studio is great,” said Liriano. “But more importantly, I’m excited to learn about advertising and marketing. It’s so important to have those skills if you want to start your own business, and get ahead in any industry, really. Plus this program is completely free, so how could I turn down this opportunity?”

The Tech Up program meets bi-weekly for two sets of students. There is a bi-weekly morning session and a bi-weekly afternoon session. The free program, open to students ages 16–24, runs from Feb. to June. For information or to register, visit bit.ly/Tech_Up, call 212-367-2372 or email swingert@hudsonguild.org. Also visit thelamp.org.

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