DACA/DREAM Frontera Fund News

Hola Code Gives Opportunities to Former Immigrants and Brings Attention to Coding Programs in the USA

Written by Carmen Cornejo

Call me crazy, but I always think that STEM and immigration are variables that can easily intersect.

Back in the early 2000s, my husband and I entered the DREAM Act advocacy (before most people knew about DREAMers and way before DACA) through our connections with the amazing Carl Hayden Robotics team.

Read the story of the Carl Hayden 4 here.

Technology got us to the DREAMers.

Why do I constantly connect high-tech and immigrants? Because of the demographics of immigration. Most immigrants are young, and many are educated in the U.S., such as the DREAMers. Young immigrants are technologically savvy, open-minded, globalized and can be integrated into high-tech knowledge easily.

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That is the premise behind Hola <code/>. This Mexican social enterprise offers a coding boot camp to introduce young people to coding. But there is a catch: Hola <code/> target subjects are former immigrants who have been deported or exited the U.S. due to the climate of hostility.

The purpose of the boot camp is to teach former U.S. immigrants coding skills that will take them to a better-paid career in the high-tech industry.

Hola </code> was modeled after Hack Reactor, a popular coding school in San Francisco with a proven world-class curriculum.

Hola <coders/> do not need to have previous knowledge, the program does not require education certifications,  they are given a stipend to cover their basic expenses and do not have to pay tuition until they are hired as software engineers. Additionally, coders-in-training consult with mentors and life coaches.

Another Hola <code/> plus? They are gender mainstreaming and encourage the participation of women and the LGBT community.

“Hola <code/> is going against the current migration trends. Our ultimate goal is to prove that migration is a positive thing. That communities, sectors and whole economies can benefit from the interaction between people with different perspectives, cultures, and ideas.” said Marcela Torres,  Hola<code/> CEO.

All these are great, but let me be clear: You do not need to be a deportee to take the coding challenge. There are many initiatives near you that are inviting young people, no matter their legal status, to participate in high-tech career opportunities.

As we have been pointing out over and over again in Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund, young immigrants should seek educative opportunities and not let the negative environment paralyze their path to success.

Here is an example of a program in the Phoenix Metro area that gives you the knowledge to enter a low-level high-tech job, with little investment of time and money, providing you with options for further learning and career advancement.

Its name is less sexy, but it is effective: the Certificate of Completion in Computer Programming (CCL) by Maricopa County Community Colleges, which people can earn with only 30 credits.

Here is another similar program at the University of Arizona that seeks to provide web development training in just 12 or 24 weeks.