Oakland Edtech nonprofit on path to impact 2000 students
OAKLAND, CA, October 9th, 2015 — Google.org recently announced the ten finalists in their highly anticipated Google Impact Challenge: Bay Area. Out of nearly 800 applications, The Hidden Genius Project, an Oakland based education technology nonprofit, was selected by a panel of advisors for their cutting edge approach to empowering young black males to become innovators and leaders in the community. The program aims to train and mentor black male youth in technology creation, entrepreneurship and leadership to transform their lives and communities. From September 29th to October 20th, the public can vote to help The Hidden Genius Project win a total of $500,000 from Google.org.
With the Google.org funding, The Hidden Genius Project aims to launch a multi-year intensive program to serve a total of 2000 black male youth over the next three years. The innovative program is working to increase the inclusion of young black men in tech by teaching them how to conceive and develop tech-enabled solutions for their communities. The boom of the tech industry has created immense economic opportunity, but it had largely been inaccessible to various communities of color. In 2011, blacks represented 11 percent of the total workforce, but only 6 percent of workers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) occupations, according to the United States Census Bureau.
Founding Executive Director, Dr. Brandon Nicholson, said: “Our students are creating innovative solutions for problems that aren’t even on the radar of most people in the Valley. If we empower these young men to build an entrepreneurial foundation, we can show them they don’t have to wait on a grand paradigm shift from the tech sector. They can build a network and become agents of change right now.”
To date, 350 young black men have participated in The Hidden Genius Immersion and Catalyst programming. As part of the Immersion program the students receive 700+ hours of intensive technical and entrepreneurial training that allows them to conceive, build, and market their own software application over the course of 15-months.
Justin Steele, Bay Area Giving Lead, at Google, said: “The Hidden Genius Project’s work to empower local black youth with cutting-edge technology, entrepreneurship, and leadership skills is the type of high-impact idea that the Google Impact Challenge: Bay Area seeks to foster. These programs have the potential to greatly improve the lives of local residents for many years to come and we are excited to support them.”
The funds from the Google Impact Challenge will help The Hidden Genius Project achieve their mission of becoming the leading incubator of high-performing black male entrepreneurs and technologists. Within the next six months, The Hidden Genius Project will also extend targeted services to youth that might not typically access core programming, including youth in foster care, youth in the juvenile justice system, and student athletes.
Google Impact Challenge voting takes place online campaign and will run from September 29th to October 20th.