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This Wilmington Organization Is Preparing Local Students For Careers In Tech

Code Differently, with support from Capital One, is providing workforce development opportunities for underserved communities. 

Growing up, Destiny R. was inspired by her mother’s work in the IT field.

When the 18-year-old from Newark had the chance to pursue a technology pathway through Code Differently, she jumped at the chance.

“I have always been interested in what [my mom] does, so when I knew that Code Differently was an option, I took it,” she says.

Code Differently is a technology talent pipeline organization located in Wilmington. Through local nonprofits and school districts, Code Differently connects with underserved communities to provide hands-on training to students, equipping them with the skills to excel in technology-driven workplaces.

Destiny’s favorite part about working with the coding organization is having the creative freedom to design almost anything, along with learning problem solving skills.

Code Differently student Destiny R. is pursuing a career in technology, inspired by her mother’s work in the IT field.

For Code Differently students Jeremiah W., and Trey H., it’s the sense of community that has spurred their interest in coding.

“My favorite aspect of being here is the camaraderie. It’s amazing to me how I feel like I can always turn to my instructors when I need help,” says Jeremiah.

Trey adds, “My favorite part is meeting new people, including our instructors, who love the same things I do.”

Recognizing equal access to education plays a central role in creating a more equitable society for all, Capital One partnered with Code Differently to invest strategic grant funds as part of the Capital One Impact Initiative that will expand Code Differently’s state footprint and ability to work with even more students.

The Capital One Impact Initiative is an initial $200 million, five-year national commitment to support growth in underserved communities and advance socioeconomic mobility. The Impact Initiative builds on Capital One’s core mission to change banking for good and long-standing philanthropic commitments by advancing racial equity, affordable housing, small business support, workforce development and financial well-being.

“Capital One is passionate about the success of our community and believes it’s our responsibility to leverage our scale and resources to help foster a world where everyone has an equal opportunity to prosper,” says Joe Westcott, Capital One Wilmington Market President. “We are proud to partner with Code Differently to tackle socioeconomic disparities in low- and moderate-income communities and close gaps in opportunity.”

Code Differently provides hands-on training to Wilmington students interested in technology-driven careers.

Code Differently was founded by Stephanie Eldridge and Tariq Hook in 2018. Both grew up in “tech deserts” and as teenagers were introduced to the possibility of a career in technology.

As adults, Eldridge and Hook saw a need for a pipeline to their career fields, especially for those in underserved communities. Eldridge says it’s about paying it forward and making the industry more inclusive.

“We try to pave the pathway to success for others,” she says.

Instructors train students in software development skills and help advance them toward future education or employment in high-tech aligned fields. The program is a supplement to students’ K-12 education and aims to provide a high-skilled tech workforce to local employers.

“We immerse them in tech culture,” Eldridge says.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Code Differently continues to provide students proper training and equipment through hybrid learning. And with the support of Capital One, the organization can expand its footprint to educate Delaware students outside of New Castle County.

“The opportunities that Code Differently provides help to unleash the potential of underrepresented youth and help them thrive in a rapidly changing employment market,” Westcott adds.

While Destiny, Jeremiah and Trey are all early on in their careers, they’ve each felt a lasting imprint from Code Differently on their futures.

“Since the start of working at Code Differently, they have inspired me to be the next best female software developer,” Destiny says. “I plan on going to Delaware State University with a major in computer science.”


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