Spark Teens' Curiosity in Tech
We're building a generation of technologists for tomorrow.
Our approach with teens is based on two principles: build relationships and honor youth interests and passions.
Read MoreAs the business world struggles to make its adult tech-workforce more diverse, the Technology Student Association offers hope for the future. At a TSA competition for middle- and high-schools, you'll find a balanced mix of male-female and ethnic diversity.
In spring 2016, we partnered with the global design firm IDEO to tackle the challenge of how to steer teens toward tech careers. IDEO started by reviewing the 2015 Teen Views on Tech Careers white paper from Creating IT Futures. The study surveyed low- to middle-income, urban African-American and Hispanic teens who were B or C students and parents of this demographic to find out how both groups viewed tech jobs, college, and careers. The study gave IDEO a starting point for its qualitative research.
Rather than advocating that we use a single source of information to attract teens to tech, the IDEO research convinced us to go directly to the teens. Through NextUp, teens have the chance to explore the world of technology through activities that interest them and to get to know tech professionals who love their work and want to share why they love it.
Q1What does NextUp do?NextUp creates opportunities for teens, develops excitement for technology, and builds a foundational awareness of tech careers in such a way that they will want to pursue a career in the tech industry.
Q2How does NextUp work?We support programs that engage kids in grades 6 through 12 with tech within the context of their interests and connect them with mentors who work in the tech industry. Currently, we’re working with 4 partner organizations: FUSE, New York Academy of Sciences, TechGirlz and Technology Student Association.
Q3How does NextUp build trust with teens?Influence comes from building trust. Trust is built on relationships. If we want to inspire teens to pursue tech as a profession, we need to connect them to individuals in the field who will get to know them and show them that a tech career is obtainable and accessible by many paths. We are partnering with like-minded organizations and forging partnerships to maximize available resources.
Q4How does NextUp honor youth passions and interests?We identify intersections between students’ interests and tech. We offer diverse entry points to give teens new ways to connect with technology. We guide, but don’t control teens’ choices. Emphasizing guidance rather than control helps to ensure that interactions with students and youth organizations feel genuine, neutral and welcome.
Q5What does NextUp want to accomplish?We want to dramatically increase the number of students who are exposed to tech-related roles, activities, and working professionals. Our hope is that after students finish secondary school, their experiences and the relationships they forged through NextUp will lead them to pursue studies for a tech career.
Opportunities for Volunteering & Partnering
Together, we can inspire the next generation of technologists.
NextUp has enabled 35 schools to have FUSE Studios. Teachers at those schools need tech professionals to help guide students.
TechGirlz is looking for more tech mentors and leaders in Chicago to lead TechGirlz workshopz.