On Wednesday, tech training nonprofit Byte Back celebrated its official launch and early success during a launch party at The Startup Nest in Southwest Baltimore.
After 22 years in Washington, DC, Byte Back enrolled its first adult learners in Baltimore in June. Since then, the program has enrolled a total of 39 Baltimore residents and 10 have been certified in CompTIA IT Fundamentals. Seventy-five adult students will be enrolled in free tech training by the end of 2019.
The event included opening remarks about the Baltimore program from Byte Back Baltimore site director Chrissie Powell. Powell thanked TD, which awarded Byte Back with a $775,000 TD Ready Challenge grant last year, funding the organization’s expansion into Baltimore.
“This is Byte Back’s dream come true – not only to expand, but to really succeed in a new city and help students on their path to living-wage careers in tech,” said Elizabeth Lindsey, Byte Back executive director, who led the expansion process starting last year. Lindsey is a nationally recognized leader in digital equity and diversity in tech, most recently recognized this week on “The Root 100” list of most influential African Americans. She leads an ambitious organization and says the Baltimore program is just the beginning of Byte Back’s expanding impact.
Samiria Simmons, a Byte Back student who is an aspiring woman in tech, shared her story at the event. A Baltimore resident, Simmons commuted all the way into D.C. for her Byte Back Computer Foundations 1 class. She said that she’s now thrilled to start her second class next week without the commute.
“I’m ready to move up the class pathway, to pursue more skills, and to work toward my goals of being an amazing woman in tech,” said Simmons. As an added bonus, attending class for free in Baltimore will give Simmons time to help her 9-year-old daughter with her homework and continue their typing competitions with Byte Back’s online Typing Tutorial.
The Baltimore Launch Party hosted about 70 attendees, including students and alumni from the Byte Back program, local program partners including Year Up, Living Classrooms, and Green Street Academy, and representatives from TD.
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