At a recent class for the current group of students enrolled at the Urban Coders Guild, the staff wanted to do something different to honor the continued commitment of the students.
“We’re not rewarding our students with more pizzas! We’re rewarding their continued commitment and literally investing in our children,” a Facebook post from the group’s page said.
Urban Coders Guild was started back in 2017 by Mikeal Vaughn with a simple goal, “to provide the same STEM access and opportunities I had growing up.”
STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) interest has grown over the last decade with advances in technology infiltrating everyday life.
“Urban Coders Guild exists to provide Computer Science education access and opportunities to youth from historically underserved, underrepresented and otherwise under-resourced communities,” according to UCG’s website.
Kids learn how to build their own apps in Greenwood
The 28-week-long programs begin in September, and it’s free of charge for middle and high schoolers. Students are fed at each weekly meeting, given free new Macbooks, and classes can translate to college credit.
There are four areas of development UCG focuses on. Android App Development, iOS Mobile App Development, Web Development, and Game Development.
“When we started, Urban Coders Guild programs were a response to what the kids wanted,” Vaughn said. “First they wanted to develop apps so we created Android and iOS App Development programs, and naturally that led to web development. Last year they really wanted to develop games so we went that route. We really listen to what it is they want.”
At last week’s class students received Bitcoin during an introduction to cryptocurrency, where the students’ whole families were able to attend. UCG has special session classes ranging from project management to entrepreneurship to cryptocurrency where students’ families are able to attend.
“There is a lot of effort and energy into reshaping Tulsa as a tech and energy hub,” said Vaughn. “It is important for us to provide all the resources and opportunities and access for our kids to thrive and help build the city.”
Building a Black Silicon Valley in Greenwood
Tulsa was home to Black Wall Street, the most affluent and innovative Black community in the country, but was burned down by a white mob in 1921.
“Not only can the wealth that existed in the past be recreated, but it can far surpass the acme of its glorious days via one industry — tech,” said Tyrance Billingsley II, founder of Black Tech Street. “The 1900s saw the birth of Black Wall Street; the 2020s should, therefore, see the birth of a Black Silicon Valley,” he added.
The ultimate goal for Urban Coders Guild is to create a pipeline from “cradle all the way to career” for BIPOC and young women.
“Building a viable tech pipeline in Tulsa that yields inter-generational wealth starts here,” Vaughn said.
This Saturday, Urban Coders Guild is hosting a MLK Commemorative Hack-a-thon. The day will be spent sharing facts about Dr. King and his impact on the civil rights movement with the students.
“The goal is to create websites by the end of the day that showcase the kids’ coding ability and the life and impact of Dr. King.”
If you’re interested in learning more or signing up your middle or high schooler for Urban Coders Guild, click here.