CEDAR RAPIDS, IA—FEBRUARY 21, 2013—Curt Nelson, President & CEO of EDC, Inc., a Cedar Rapids-based business accelerator, has been named one of the founding board members for a new non-profit, iTforTeens. The group, based in Cedar Rapids, was founded by Praveen Gadkari, a former VP of a software development company, with the mission to cultivate youth interest and knowledge in Information Technology—equipping underprivileged and underrepresented teenagers with college readiness and workplace readiness through inspiration, information and internships in the field of computer science and technology.
“Groups like iTforTeens are crucial to developing the future innovators and entrepreneurs who will keep the Corridor a vital place to live and do business,” said Nelson. “iTforTeens will be a logical feeder group to area colleges and universities supplying them with better prepared, and more engaged, students. The group will also inject our workforce pool with more qualified and skilled candidates.”
The group’s programs take place in computer labs and conference rooms at various companies across Iowa. By holding the sessions in corporate settings, teens are exposed to professional work environments and state-of-the-art infrastructures. iTforTeens has hosted three weekend technology boot camps, serving a total of 40 students. Each session featured one camp coordinator and two or more technology volunteer instructors/mentors. Nelson served as a mentor for the first boot camp held in October 2012.
The group is planning weekday, two-hour drop in sessions to introduce Computer Science basics and SCRATCH programming. iTforTeens will also launch a summer camp series that will focus on mobile app development. The overall program goals of the group are as follows:
- Increase student exposure to expanded career options in the fields of technology through role models, mentors and field trips/worksite visits.
- Improve student confidence levels in computer science and technology.
- Encourage student pursuit of studies and careers in computer science and technology.