Black and Brown Youth Use Web Development Program to Build Sites For Black-Owned Businesses
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Black and Brown Youth Use Web Development Program to Build Sites For Black-Owned Businesses

Today’s youth are getting more creative in the ways that they’re innovating technology to improve our society.

According to The Seattle Medium, a group of young Black and brown high school students — alongside the city of Seattle’s Office of Economic Development (OED) and Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle — just recently launched a Youth Web Design Program to introduce them to the world of website design as a means to also help local small business owners.

“The past year has brought unprecedented challenges to everyone in our city but it has been even more challenging for our Black and African American youth and small business owners, who have been disproportionately impacted by the economic downturn during COVID-19,” Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan said to The Seattle Medium. “The Youth Web Design Program teaches Seattle’s BIPOC youth new skills while simultaneously providing assistance to Black owned businesses who need it most.”

The idea behind the new program is to allow 16 high school students of color a chance to provide website support to 16 Black-owned, small businesses that will enhance their operations and help them compete in today’s e-commerce market.

“We wanted to create our own solutions to the problem, and married the needs of small businesses and workforce training,” said Sasha Gourevitch, OED’s youth employment development advisor, according to Geekwire.

Moreover, this program creates opportunities for students to consider future career options, tap into their creative skills, and overall make them contributing members of their respective communities.

“We need to be intentional about providing a space where students can gain industry level skills and prepare to enter jobs that will lead to a successful future,” Michelle Merriweather, President and CEO of ULMS, said to The Seattle Medium. “The Youth Web Design Program provides our students with an early opportunity to learn lucrative, transferable web skills, all while supporting local business owners who are navigating this pandemic, doing their best to remain open in our communities.”

Youth Web Design Program will follow a six-week curriculum consisting of web design training, industry accredited website design certification, and consultations for Black business owners. In return, these students will receive a paid stipend for their work.

Businesses that students designed new websites for include:

According to program participant Keymani Washington, “This program gave me the opportunity to take part in a new spectrum that is growing in today’s society, and with these new skills it will not only benefit myself for the future but also allow me to share my knowledge and help others,” The Seattle Medium reports.

Seattle City Councilmember Tammy Morales describes this program as a win-win for both Black-owned businesses and these students as it offers life-changing skills and a chance for entrepreneurs to restructure their business models to survive the pandemic.

“As we re-open and rebuild our economy, we must continue to look for opportunities to support Black, small business owners as they pivot their business models to meet the needs of our changed economy and train young people in the careers of the futures,” she shares.

OED and ULMS will reportedly host the next cohorts of this program this upcoming Summer and Fall.

For more information about how to apply for the Youth Web Design Program, click here.