CEDAR RAPIDS — Five years on, the K-12 initiative at NewBoCo has impacted more than 1,500 students through one-day classes, free events and summer programs.
NewBoCo, or the New Bohemian Innovation Collaboration, started hosting tech and coding programming for students in and near Cedar Rapids to address workforce needs, said Samantha Dahlby, NewBoCo Director of K-12 Education.
“It spun out of a need for tech in the community,” Dahlby said. “We were hearing (from employers), it’s great here, there’s wonderful resources, we love the people — but we have to hire tech talent and we can’t find that here.”
A long-term solution to that problem is exposing more young students to science, technology, engineering and math — or STEM — she said.
Elementary students can take coding classes known as “CoderDojo” through NewBoCo — which is housed in the Geonetric Building in Cedar Rapids’ NewBo district — while middle and high school students can work with mentors working in tech to develop their own websites.
NewBoCo also offers professional development to teachers and schools interested in computer science education.
“There’s still work to be done, but we’ve see a huge improvement in STEM, focus-wise” in schools, Dahlby said.
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Looking ahead, NewBoCo’s education initiative hopes to build more business and community partnerships as well as grow its volunteer base.
“Impacting more and more students is the trajectory we’re on,” Dahlby said.
l Comments: (319) 398-8330; email@example.com
IF YOU GO
l What: CoderDojo and five-year celebration
l When: 1 to 3 p.m., April 6
l Where: Geonetric Building, 415 12th Ave. SE, Cedar Rapids
l Cost: Free