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Y Combinator's New Nonprofit Helps Tech Companies Teach Kids To Code

CodeNow In a Box will give high school students more than 30 hours of programming training.

[Image: CodeNOW]

Y Combinator nonprofit CodeNow aims to teach high school students, especially minorities and girls, programming skills with its in-person coding workshops. While the organization has taught more than 300 students the fundamentals of programming, it hopes to have a bigger impact, and on Thursday launched a product that it says could potentially reach hundreds of thousands of students.

Called CodeNow in a Box, the program will enable tech companies to host their own programming training sessions. The organization said more than 45% of students are female, and 95% of students receive free or subsidized lunches. The vast majority of students who attend CodeNow's workshops have never written a line of code before.

"CodeNow's success comes from people responding to our idea and taking action," founder and CEO Ryan Seashore told Fast Company. "It's about students wanting to learn, programmers wanting to get involved and teach their skills, and companies wanting to support to the program. This new model will allow us to reach more students, think bigger, and make the existing program even better."

The program is set up so students attend three days of training over four weeks, and students are assigned about five hours of homework in between. The workshops will have 40 to 60 students—double what CodeNow was able to support before—who will be split up into groups led by a software engineer from a tech company. By the end of this program, students will have accumulated more than 30 hours of programming experience.

This weekend, campaigning platform Causes will be hosting a CodeNow workshop in San Francisco. Other tech companies that have hosted training sessions include Bloomberg, Salesforce, Symantec, and Cisco.