Code{D}etroit plants STEM seeds for thousands of Detroit students

Several partnerships. Hundreds of volunteers. Several days and hours and hours of time. All of which resulted in the outstanding number of 5,000 Detroit students having been taught the basics of coding.

The multi-day event Code{D}etroit took place this past June, where thousands of students from Detroit area schools, including the Detroit Public Schools Community District, Cornerstone Schools, The Leona Group, University Prep Academies, and River Rouge School District were given free lessons in mobile app development.

The event was part of TechStars Startup Week Detroit, which took place Monday, June 18, through Thursday, June 21.

It was a combination of several area organizations that helped make Code{D}etroit happen. JOURNi, CodeKey, Code.org, and Grand Circus provided the lessons and expertise. Wayne State University provided the space. Strategic Community Partners provided the planning and staffing. Forgotten Harvest donated breakfast and lunch for all four days. And Quicken Loans provided funding and logistical support.

Richard Grundy, co-founder and CEO of JOURNi, believes that it’s crucial to reach students at a young age, which in turn will only benefit Michigan industry.

“It’s important that we engage young people and that they’re aware of these technologies early on, so that they can be prepared to solve future problems,” says Grundy.

“Coding is about problem solving. Technology is a series of puzzle pieces.”

A lot of energy went into making learning a fun, interactive experience for the students. There was a kick-off party with a DJ and prize giveaways.

As fun as it was, Grundy and crew remain focused on the task at hand: Providing Detroit students with the opportunity to turn their skills into careers. Teach them coding early on, and see them flourish.

“I went to Ford’s event at Michigan Central Station. I heard the plans for autonomous vehicle work, a bigger focus on technology,” Grundy says.

“We’re definitely going to need the homegrown talent of students from Detroit to make that vision a reality.”

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