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New York State Office for New Americans: 'Immigrants Can Code' to empower people with digital literacy skills

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Mon, Oct 5th 2020 11:50 am

Partnership between ONA, AlbanyCanCode will provide virtual computer education & training courses dedicated to immigrants

The New York State Office for New Americans announced the launch of a new initiative, “Immigrants Can Code – Digital Literacy Pilot.” A press release said it “will ensure immigrants have access to digital literacy education and training that are essential to building careers in the Empire State’s fast-growing innovation economy. During a time of economic transition that is defined by the growing importance of technology in the workplace, this digital literacy initiative will enable newcomers to New York State to gain the critical competencies needed to succeed in a rapidly evolving workforce.”

Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul said, “In New York, we are proud to lead the nation with initiatives and protections to support immigrants in our state. This partnership between the State Office for New Americans and AlbanyCanCode will provide immigrants with the opportunity to learn how to code and advance their digital skills. Education and training courses as part of the program will help to prepare new Americans and New Yorkers with the tools they need to expand their career opportunities and ensure success now and in the future.”

ONA is partnering with AlbanyCanCode, a nonprofit organization that has successfully trained hundreds of software coders in Albany and Kingston. AlbanyCanCode will offer digital literacy courses specifically for ONA constituents, with the initial classes starting in October.

Secretary of State Rossana Rosado said, “Immigrants have made numerous contributions across this nation and I can think of no better way to honor immigrants than by offering them new opportunities. The ONA partnership with AlbanyCanCode will offer New Americans the chance to hone their skills that will prepare them for the highly competitive and lucrative high-tech field and increase their potential for growth and advancement in today’s economic environment. In this ever-changing world, New York state will be better positioned thanks to this well-trained workforce.”

Founder and CEO of AlbanyCanCode Annmarie Lanesey said, “We’re incredibly excited to partner with the Office for New Americans to assist their constituents in developing critical computer skills that will fuel career opportunities and build the tech talent pipeline employers desperately need. We firmly believe that anyone with talent and aptitude can succeed in the technology industry and today’s digital-first economy. We applaud the Office for New Americans for its vision and foresight in creating this bold initiative and look forward to working together to make it a resounding success.”

This initiative, supported through approximately $50,000 in Federal CARES Act funding, is open to any immigrant with a household income at or below 200% of the federal poverty guidelines. This training is particularly critical and timely as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic that has shown how important digital literacy is for those who are now working from home, or who are seeking new employment that requires them to work remotely. Additionally, dedicated funds will be made available for students to participate in more advanced software courses beyond digital literacy.

The ONA’s own COVID-19 needs assessment survey, conducted this past April of its immigrant service provider network, also reinforced the need for digital literacy training options to address the high level of job insecurity.

AlbanyCanCode has been offering computer coding education and training courses since 2016 – and since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, it has been offering virtual digital literacy classes in a fully remote instructional format. The primary courses offered through the partnership between ONA and AlbanyCanCode will assist participants in developing digital literacy skills that are vital to pursuing a growing number of career opportunities in the technology industry, while also increasing the number of skilled workers available to meet the needs of employers across nearly every industry.

This program is supported by the U.S. Administration for Children and Families (ACF), the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, as part of a financial assistance award totaling $49,999 with 100% funded by ACF/HHS. The contents are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by ACF/HHS, or the U.S. government. For more information, visit the ACF website, (administrative and national policy requirements).

With the assistance of dedicated funds provided under this initiative, New York’s new Americans can also participate in advanced computer coding courses offered by AlbanyCanCode. The organization’s fall 2020 software course schedule includes front-end web development, which teaches technical skills necessary for user interface (UI) development and wire framing; JavaScript fundamentals, the dominant scripting tool for front-end web development; and automated web and security testing, which focuses on the use of software tools to evaluate the performance and security of a website. Other courses include front-end JavaScript frameworks, Python for data analytics, and SQL/ETL.

ONA will soon be accepting applications for upcoming digital literacy training as well as software and coding courses. Individuals who are interested in participating in the program can contact [email protected] for more information or call the new Americans hotline at 1-800-566-7636. The new Americans hotline is a toll-free, multilingual hotline. Anyone can call the hotline for information and referrals, regardless of citizenship or documented status.

The New York State Office for New Americans, founded in late 2012, is the nation’s first statutorily created immigrant services office. ONA has opportunity centers across the state that are hosted in community-based organizations that deliver a variety of services and support, including legal services, to New York’s new American communities. For more information, visit https://www.newamericans.ny.gov/ or follow ONA on Twitter at @NYSNewAmericans or Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/NYSNewAmericans.

AlbanyCanCode is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit founded in June 2016 to develop nontraditional talent and advocates for a vibrant, inclusive tech talent pipeline in New York. The organization designs and deliver workforce training courses, hands-on K-12 coding programs, and community code literacy workshops, in alignment with the needs of employers, educators, talent and the community in general. Its mission is to shift mindset about who can work in technology, remove cultural and economic barriers to joining the tech workforce, and establish and promote pathways to tech careers throughout the region. For more, visit www.albanycancode.org.

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