The African American Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey (AACCNJ) in partnership with Bristol Myers Squibb, Change Church and the Trenton Housing Authority is pleased to launch a comprehensive Saturday Academy, STEM education program titled NJ-Kids4Coding. STEM instructors will partner to teach, and test up-to 60 students on coding applications and ways to apply their new talents in today’s workplace. The Saturday sessions began on July 13th and will conclude on August 17th.

NJ-Kids4Coding will teach 9-12 year old students how to code and prepare students to excel in computer science. The participating students will be in four cohorts of 15 students each 9-10 years old and 11-12 years old. Saturday sessions are conducted at Change Church in Ewing, NJ. The students will experience 90 minutes of intense instruction on the latest techniques to improve their understanding and proficiency in Coding and Game Design.

NJ-Kids4Coding will begin with a basic introduction to coding using simple math and design concepts, through fun and challenging ways. Engineering concepts are taught through hands on learning. The program will advance to future workshops that will include: Java Programming, Game Design, Emergent Computer Technology, and Web Design. Three years ago, fewer than half of all middle and high school students in Trenton qualified for AP courses. These courses are essential for students seeking careers in computer science, biotechnology, healthcare, and manufacturing ─ better known as STEM (Science-Technology-Engineering-Math) related industries. STEM education has become a pivotal bridge between knowledge and career opportunities for most aspiring student entrepreneurs. Unfortunately many budding business owners, scientists, IT technicians, and engineers will never journey to receive the proper training because they lack the advanced learning skills often needed to enroll in Advanced Placement (AP) courses.

Kids4Coding will measure success by:

  • Student improvement in math skills, level of work comprehension and implementation of coding applications
  • How students view their future career choices
  • Coding and Math Understanding: Implement coding curriculum, containing math. Evaluate student understanding and provide pre and post assessments to measure performance. Observe material comprehension and awareness of coding principles to see what areas of learning need improvement.
  • Teamwork – Focus interaction with Class Participants
  • Practical Application: Measure coding comprehension and demonstration of activities derived from educational workshops. Outcomes include: Students display high level of confidence in material understanding, math skills, class participation, ability to develop new programs, applications, and/or games.
  • Program Completion: Achieve 100% completion and evaluate students on curriculum comprehension, implementation of technical and practical coding uses, and understanding of business and entrepreneur principles. Test individual students and assess increased math and language skills.

“We are pleased to support the NJ-Kids4Coding program, which focuses on Trenton students who are budding entrepreneurs by teaching skills pertinent to students aspiring to STEM-related careers,” said Carrie Fernandez, Community Affairs Lead, Bristol-Myers Squibb. “Bristol-Myers Squibb’s community giving program prioritizes STEM programs because we know it’s critical to prepare all future leaders for careers in healthcare, biotechnology, and other related fields.”

“As a vanguard for the 1.1 million African American residents and over 80,000 businesses it is important that we position our constituency for optimal success while consequently strengthening the competitiveness of New Jersey. Moreover, we seek to leverage these technological applications to better position our young people for future success,” said John E. Harmon, Sr., IOM, Founder, President and CEO of the African American Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey.

“We are excited to be able to partner with The African American Chamber of Commerce to host this Summer Coding and Gaming Program for the youth in our communities. As Lead Pastor of Change Church, our goal for the past 14 years of existence has been to partner with local agencies who are doing great work and collaborate to help bring life change experiences,” said Dr. Dharius Daniels. “I recently taught a message to our congregation and shared one major key to extraordinary living is mentorship because it provides exposure. A program like this is exposing youth ages 9-12 to opportunities where they can turn normal daily actives (playing video games) into a potential career that can change their futures forever. We look forward to hosting this program and others like it at our churches as often as possible.”