Hack the Hood

Hack the Hood is an award-winning non-profit that introduces low-income youth of color to careers in tech by hiring and training them to build websites for real small businesses in their own communities. During 6-week "Bootcamps," young people gain valuable hands-on experience, build a portfolio, and learn about opportunities in the tech industry, as well as building critical technical, leadership, entrepreneurship, and life skills with mentorship from staff and tech professionals working in the field.

I spent a total of 2 days at Hack the hood. One day I spent at the bootcamp with high school students learning more about their ambitions and hopes for the future. A Lot of them mentioned they can’t afford to go to university so learning a technology skill and looking at alternative paths was their way of climbing up the ladder. The day I was there it was a mixture of teaching young people technical concepts using role play which was extremely interactive. The young people work on real websites for small business in the community. I found by shadowing the hack the hood team the next day I was able to understand how they go about doing this and the circle approach they have when alumni come back as teachers.

What was very interesting about Hack the Hood is they were based in Oakland on the outskirts of San Francisco, very similar to the way the London eco system is developing. We have Shoreditch which is tech city but then we have deprivation of east london and minorities that surround the area. That’s pushing up the house prices and in turn pushing local people out which creates resentment as they are not getting a chance to be part of it. By exposing low income youth of colour to the technology scene it helps raise aspirations of the young people and make them realise they can also get that job on their doorstep but also by involving local small businesses they are able to benefit from tech skills and get a website for their business.

Best practice: Getting local young people in the area to use technology to help the local business community. This allowed young people to build tech skills but solve real life problems helping local businesses.