The 8-week program will pay selected youth in Baltimore City to develop solutions for challenges faced in their communities during the coronavirus pandemic.
SmartLogic, a Baltimore-based custom web and mobile design agency, and the Digital Harbor Foundation (DHF), a youth-focused tech education organization, are partnering to launch an entrepreneurial design thinking challenge aimed at addressing issues related to the coronavirus pandemic, formally titled the COVID SLAM (Student Learning Apprenticeship Model).
The project is aimed at strengthening workforce readiness and job skills in a student-led real-world environment. “The SLAM model is a way for us to connect youth in our communities with employers, building a pathway from the classroom to careers, anchored around real-life application and experience,” said DHF Executive Director Andrew Coy. Three COVID SLAM youth teams will participate in an 8-week paid earn and learn experience, during which each team will develop and execute on a prototype that addresses a COVID-related challenge faced by Baltimore’s youth. The teams will then present their work to a panel of evaluators at the end of the program on January 28th, 2021, and winning teams will receive cash prizes.
Two mentor organizations — DHF and Dent Education — will support the teams throughout the project, which will emphasize design thinking and entrepreneurial skills. SmartLogic is providing $24,000 in funding for the initiative, and volunteers from the SmartLogic team will participate as evaluators, coaches, and participants in a career panel over the course of the project.
SmartLogic’s President, Yair Flicker, sees the initiative as a natural evolution of the company’s charitable giving projects over the years, which have included giving to Black-led community organizations, a developer apprentice program, and the Baltimore Women in Tech microgrants, in addition to direct donations and volunteering.
“We’re always trying new experiments and looking for new ways of supporting and empowering the community,” said Flicker. “With this project, we are excited to be focusing on supporting the city’s youth in developing entrepreneurial skills, while valuing their time and work — paying them to develop solutions that will help address challenges in their own communities.”
About SmartLogic — https://smartlogic.io/
SmartLogic is a Baltimore-based custom web and mobile application development agency. Since 2005, SmartLogic has built over 150 custom software applications for funded startups and established organizations alike. Known for high levels of organization and communication as well as community engagement, SmartLogic brings new projects to life using progressive, best-of-breed technologies including Ruby on Rails, Elixir Phoenix, ReactJS and React Native.
About Digital Harbor Foundation — https://www.digitalharbor.org/
Digital Harbor Foundation is dedicated to fostering learning, creativity, productivity, and community through education. In 2013 they transformed a closed-down rec center in Baltimore City into a vibrant Tech Center for youth. In 2014 they launched the Center of Excellence to train others how to incorporate making into their own learning environments.
About Dent Education — https://www.denteducation.org
Dent Education promotes equity by empowering under-resourced youth to discover and develop their innate creative potential to shape the world around them.