In order to build a vibrant tech startup economy in our region, we need to be creating and retaining the talent that we will need in the next 20 years. To help, Start Fort Wayne is launching an education program to help inspire more kids to enter technology in our region.
|**Rocket Academy** is our first pilot program to teach middle schoolers in after-school programs about electronics and computer programming. We hope to light the fire of discovery in technology with these young people, and have them think about their future in a technical career. In our first phase, we are working with underserved populations via the McMillen Park Community Center, helping to not only serve individual kids, but also to help narrow the "digital divide". By providing opportunities with equipment and programming they don't normally receive, we hope to inspire some of these students to take their education further and enter fields they might not have considered.|
Over the first three years of the program, we aim to serve at least 1,000 children all across our region. We'll also be using this program as a template for creating additional volunteer driven education in other disciplines.
How it works
Start Fort Wayne is building a platform for volunteer driven technology education.
- We find, purchase, or write curriculum.
- We procure the equipment, and maintain it in a central location so that it can be used in as many classes as possible - rather than just sit on a shelf.
- We recruit and train volunteers to teach these classes and lead students in activities. These volunteers come from across the community, so different parts of our region can mix and learn from one another.
- We teach on-site, rather than have kids need to travel to us, saving them time and giving more time for instruction.
- We measure data on each class, so we can learn what was effective and what wasn't. We then immediately fold those lessons back into our current semester, and future classes.
This program is applying an "agile methodology" to education. Nothing is set in stone, and we want to find the best solution as fast as possible by starting small and then scaling up what works. Just like a successful startup business.
We are always looking for new volunteers for our education programs. You do not need to be an engineer or a programmer to help! You just need to be excited about technology, communicate well with kids, and ready to help them expand their minds. We'll teach you the rest!
All volunteers go through a background check in order to work with our students.
Rocket Academy is made possible by these great sponsors. There are still sponsorship opportunities available! Contact Dave Sanders for more information.