OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — A group of students from North Omaha is trading in pool toys for computers this summer. Now, they are taking part in a camp dedicated to coding.
While the tech sector is growing officials with the AIM Institute say the number of minorities in these fields isn't equal. "In middle school I did some coding not a lot but like a little bit of it, then back in elementary I did some coding too,” said North High School, 9th grader Giovanni Valentine. He is spending seven weeks of his summer at Highlander Code Camp.
Valentine is just one of ten students from North Omaha who applied for this summer session. Omaha North junior Isabel Kolb did as well. “It sounded like a really great opportunity and I like coding and tech a lot, so I thought it would help me with that also,” said Kolb.
Unlike most, this camp is free of charge. And has been for the past five years thanks to the AIM Institute and Seventy-Five North. “The biggest thing we're trying to do is also connect them with the business community, we give them a chance to meet Omaha business leaders and actually learn about the future careers they can explore when they get older,” said Tony Veland, director of community engagement at AIM.
At this camp students will be learning the basics of coding. Like building a website. But these basics will build more than just websites, they will build their future jobs. “There isn't a career that does not include technology in some way shape or form and so understanding the basics will help them in whatever they are doing,” said Erin Lasiter, executive director of Brain Exchange.
Through this camp the AIM Institute and Seventy-Five North hope students feel more confident in applying for tech heavy jobs. “A lot of kids are placing lower ceilings on themselves because they don't see success, they don't see themselves being in a business where they can do coding and programming and things of that nature,” said Veland.
And some of the campers are already planning. “I want to be an engineer in the future so in all different types of engineering you, I like architecture the best and you do a lot of cad and things which is computers and some coding,” said Kolb. “Designing type of job for like Sony or Microsoft, like the big companies, like for PlayStation,” said Valentine.
The ten students attend this camp five days a week for seven weeks. And the end they present a website to friends, family and community members.