Over the next two days, Albuquerque middle school students will participate in a free Microsoft YouthSpark DigiCamp to learn about careers in technology and connect with Microsoft Corp. employees and local business leaders. This fourth annual program in Albuquerque boasts 100 seventh and eighth grade students from Garfield Middle School and the Native American Community Academy (NACA) who have signed up to attend the camps. Once this year’s DigiCamp is complete, Microsoft will have trained approximately 400 youth on coding and other tech skills here in Albuquerque.
In 2013, Mayor Richard J. Berry met with Microsoft representatives in Washington DC, where he encouraged the group to consider providing services in Albuquerque. Microsoft’s regional team then met with the mayor in person in Albuquerque to design the camps and confirm details. Since that meeting the DigiCamps have become an annual event for Albuquerque’s youth.
The camps will be held at Nusenda Credit Union. The classes for young women will be on Monday, February 27th and for young men on Tuesday, February 28th. Students will be given the opportunity to participate in hands on computer and technology workshops to learn more about digital literacy, basic coding, and business development in the industry.
“It’s important to open up a young person’s eyes to the amazing potential of technology. That’s why we are thrilled to host the two-day Digi camp experience to give Albuquerque middle school students a chance to explore technology and show them what careers in tech look like. IT is one of the fastest-growing job sectors in New Mexico, and we are proud to support programs that enhance accessibility to STEM education,” said Terry Laudick, President and CEO of Nusenda Credit Union.
“We need new and innovative ways to encourage future generations to engage with the job-rich, high paying field of technology. This program does just that, by providing amazing opportunities for Albuquerque students to get first-hand experience and knowledge directly from innovators working for a premiere software and computer corporation,” said Mayor Berry. “I’m thrilled Microsoft is coming back to our city for a fourth camp and I look forward to continuing and growing this great alliance.”
Following this year’s camps, Microsoft will have trained over 400 young men and women on coding, gaming, virtual reality and Microsoft Office. Of importance to note, the technology corporation has up to this point advanced technology skills among 210 young women.
The 50 Microsoft Surface Pro 3 tablets that were generously donated by the Albuquerque Community Foundation’s Cinco Amigos Fund will be utilized once again during this year’s DigiCamps, supporting the students’ hands-on, experiential learning experience. DigiCamps are designed to give young adults whom are eager to learn about the ever-evolving world of technology, the opportunity to explore future career paths in the high-tech industry. The Cinco Amigos, five Albuquerque businessmen, sponsor an annual fundraising event each September, Concours du Soleil. Funds raised from the annual event are used to fund local nonprofits and programs such as this. This year specifically the funds will be used to pay for the student’s transportation.
“As a local businessman, the Cinco Amigos feel it is important to participate in economic development initiatives and educational opportunities in our community. We expect this partnership to support both,” said Jason Harrington of HB Construction
“Microsoft is proud to support the City of Albuquerque by providing students with access to DigiCamps,” said Celeste Alleyne, Director, Citizenship and Public Affairs at Microsoft. “We believe that technology has the power to help young people do more, achieve more and ultimately realize their full potential. Our hope is that giving young people access to foundational coding and computation skills at an early age will empower them to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.”
Microsoft YouthSpark is a global initiative to increase access for all youth to learn computer science, empowering them to achieve more for themselves, their families and their communities. Learn more at www.youthsparkhub.com.