Craig Kofoed, associate instructor.
Starting a new business is hard - especially if it hasn"t been done before. There is no code school or job training program in the United States dedicated to teaching refugee adults, so we've had to design our own curriculum, pedagogy and structure. There is no such thing as a National Association of Refugee Code Schools where we can turn to for advice.
Still, there are other people with similar passions and motivations. New Americans Code is active in social media and we are very happy to have met Nancy Mwirotsi, founder of PI515. Founded in 2014, PI515 is a 501c3 afterschool class that teaches basic coding and web development to about 70 children in Des Moines, Iowa. PI515 works in partnership with local schools and other organizations, serving mostly refugee children in grades 7 through 12.
Founder Marty Johncox recently had a great conversation with Nancy, who generously provided advice on funding, administration, curriculum and outreach. Many of PI515's challenges and opportunities are the same as New Americans Code faces, while others are different. More than anything, it was inspiring to speak with someone who has a similar mission and passion to teach technology and coding.
New Americans Code and PI515 are at the forefront in an emerging trend in the globalization of education. We have to figure out things as we go, try different approaches, create best practices and reach out and find others who share our ambitions and aspirations. Anyone involved in this understands the fulfillments and challenges.If anyone reading this is considering a refugee code training program in your community, please reach out to us!
PI515 teaches refugee children how to code.
The ultimate "consumer" of New Americans Code is the local technology community; we will provide it with people who have a basic level of instruction in coding and can work in a trainee entry-level position, or continue their education at a local school.
So support from the local technology community is important. New Americans Code is very pleased to have Pixel and Line provide us with a consistent meeting place. Pixel and Line is Boise‘s largest software agency, focusing iOS and Android mobile apps, web-based applications, websites and UX/UI design.
"We think your school is a good cause so we want to support it," said Nick Crabbs, a principal. "But theres also some self-interest - we need good developers and maybe someday some of your students can work here."
Pixel and Line demands developers at a very high level and its employees spent years developing their skills, so it may be a while before our students move from their classroom to their work room. Still, it‘s good for our students to meet professional developers and visit a nice work place like Pixel and Line. Our curriculum adviser, Wyatt Arent, is a backend developer at Pixel and Line.
We had been holding classes at the Boise Public Library, which has also been very kind and generous to our training program. We will return to the library occasionally, such as for Hacker Hours Boise and other meetups. But we are thankful to a local tech company for helping incubate our program.
A recent class at Pixel and Line in Boise
Board members bring expertise in business, philanthropy, refugees and technical education; curriculum adviser will ensure the program teaches up-to-date technologies
February 29, 2016 For more information: Marty Johncox, New Americans Code, 208-658-9100
New Americans Code, a training program dedicated to teaching refugees basic coding and web development skills, announces three new board members who will guide the program as it incorporates and seeks nonprofit status.
Douglas Metzgar, Max Mohammadi and Jake Overall serve on the board of New Americans Code, which started teaching web development classes in Boise.
Metzgar is president of Meshwork Consulting, a local marketing firm, and has decades of experience in marketing and communication in the high-tech industry. He serves on the board of Life’s Kitchen and holds an MBA from Boise State University.
Mohammadi is a Boise entrepreneur and leader in local charitable causes with knowledge of the local refugee community. He was a proprietor of the Cazba Mediterranean Restaurant and founder of the Feed The Need Thanksgiving meal drive.
Overall is a founder of Boise CodeWorks, the Treasure Valley’s web development bootcamp. Overall received his BAS from the University of Phoenix. Overall is working to supply the local tech industry with trained workers.
“As a board, Doug, Max and Jake bring experience in nonprofits, business creation, philanthropy and coding education, which will prove very valuable in guiding New Americans Code,” said Marty Johncox, founder of New Americans Code. “New Americans Code appears to be the first training program in America dedicated to help refugees train for careers in Web development and we are off to a good start with a this board.”
New Americans Code started Jan. 1, 2016 and has been teaching pilot classes with five students, meeting nine hours a week. Global Talent Idaho and the Idaho Office for Refugees have helped New Americans Code by referring qualified students.Johncox is preparing to apply to the Internal Revenue Service for 501c(3) nonprofit status.
For more information, visit www.newamericanscode.com
At the suggestion of Magic Valley Refugee Advocates, New Americans Code founder Marty Johncox recently sent a letter of support to the Twin Falls City Council. Magic Valley Refugee advocates has joined with faith communities, businesses and individuals to participate in formulating a strategic plan to integrate refugees and immigrants into the Magic Valley Community.
February 23, 2015
Dear mayor and council members,
It has come to my attention people in your community are working on a strategic plan to integrate refugees and immigrants into the Magic Valley Community, and you have agreed to participate in formulating this plan.
I want to thank you for this effort, both as a citizen of Idaho and a business owner. I have recently started New Americans Code, a training program dedicated to teaching refugees basic web development and coding skills. You can learn more about the effort at www.newamericanscode.com, www.facebook.com/newamericanscode and Twitter @americanscode. The program's goals are to provide the technology industry with more trained workers and to provide a career path to refugees with the aptitude and determination to learn coding and web development.
Initiatives like New Americans Code depend on general community support, including the support of local businesses, governments and citizens. Refugees have faced incredible hardships and are as talented, ambitious and intelligent as the native population. Like anyone else, they want to become productive members of society and support their families doing meaningful work.
We all have a role to play in integrating newcomers into our society and providing reasonable assistance to help them reach the American Dream. I am pleased to see your city moving forward in its own way and I look forward to seeing the progress of your plan.
Marty Johncox, Boise
Founder, New Americans Code
Students had a terrific time last night at Hacker Hours Boise and met people in the local tech community while learning. Here, Wyatt Arent, who attended Hacker Hours Boise just hoping to learn, found himself teaching how to correctly use the CSS flexbox property. Students are recasting their resumes into HTML pages for their first class project so Wyatt was a huge help. Wyatt is a professional backend developer at Pixel & Line in Boise. Hasan Al Rubaye, who taught computer science in Iraq, is brushing up on his HTML and CSS and also contributed to the lesson. How great when people like that share their competence and knowledge with New Americans Code students!
Wyatt Arent of Pixel and Line (standing, right) and Hasan Al Rubaye (standing, left) teach refugees and Boise developers about CSS flexbox in Boise, during a Hacker Hours Boise meetup
Lesson 4, covering positioning in CSS and the CSS specificity hierarchy, is now available. Positioning in CSS can be very tricky. We cover some of the basics of the position property, including static, fixed, relative and absolute positioning. We will also cover the basics of the specificity hierarchy, which is how CSS determines which styling rules take precedence and can override other styling rules.
We have set up meetings at the Boise Public Library Hillcrest Branch. If you have missed some class, or just heard about the program, come anyway. We may be able to tutor you individually to bring you up to speed. Also, you can review past lessons on the Curriculum page.
Also, thanks to the Boise Public Library for giving a place to learn!
Our first lesson plan is now available in our lesson list. It covers the basics of object oriented programming and server-client relationships.
We had a great informational meeting at Jannus, Inc. this evening and will begin classes Tuesday, January 26, at the Boise Public Library Hillcrest Branch. We have seven people interested in learning coding and web development and they have varied backgrounds in IT, programming, graphic design, computer hardware and more. They come from the Middle East, Africa and Asia and are ready to begin class learning principles of Object-Oriented Programming and the server-client relationship. If you know of any refugee who might be interested, send them to us! The only things required are intermediate English proficiency, basic computer skills and a passion to learning web development and advance themselves. Also, thanks to Global Talent Idaho and Creating Economic Opportunity (formerly META) for their help.