Our Roadmap to Education & Workforce Development

“If your dreams don’t scare you, they are not big enough.”

The first modern female Head of State on the Continent of Africa, Ellen Sirleaf Johnson, could not have been more compelling when she uttered these words.

That’s how I feel in 2019 at the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, as my staff colleagues and our 360 Member Companies have adopted an action plan that is as ambitious as the challenges we face in the Bay Area and beyond. We call our 2019 plan our Roadmap to a Better Future. And this is a shared future – for our Member Companies, to be sure, yet equally for their employees, their families and all who, including those who struggle, call our region home.

Over the next several weeks, my weekly blog – Carl’s Comments – will focus on just one top goal in each of our eight areas of focus. At the end of those eight weeks, we will also unveil four additional, truly audacious goals, which we believe will take 12 to 20 years to bring to fruition, and will require partnerships and collaboration like our region has never known.

Scary? Yes. Necessary? Absolutely.

This week, let me share one of several ambitious goals in the area of Education & the Workforce. In doing so, let me also introduce you to an amazing colleague on our team. The goal is what we call our “Coding 5K Challenge,” a partnership with the Silicon Valley Leadership Group Foundation, San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo and the San Jose Library Foundation.

By 2020, our ambitious goal is to provide “Coding Academies” for 5,000 unduplicated students, 1st through 12th grade, each and every year. Gulp.

As a beta-test, we launched last year our Coding 5-K Challenge in February 2018, with a goal of serving 2,500 students in five libraries. By year-end, we met and exceeded our goal, with 4,500 students completing a Coding Academy in 10 different San Jose Libraries in 8 of the 10 City Council Districts. Our 2019 goal is also 2,500 students, before we officially ramp to 5,000 students in 2020, and in each year following.

Why? We want to build in each child’s DNA a love for learning; a love for math, technology and science; a mentor with whom they can relate; and the safe space of a public library to study and learn. Every child, in every zip code, in every neighborhood, deserves such an opportunity.

We are blessed at the Leadership Group to have a professional and passionate staff who are committed to make our companies and our communities more united and more successful. For our Coding 5K Challenge, that passionate professional is Alysa Cisneros.

In addition to studying or working in politics for nearly a decade, Alysa trained as a data scientist, having discovered her own aptitude for STEM late in the game. Her experiences both as a student and as a professional have inspired her to dedicate her work to creating more inclusive learning opportunities for all students, but especially underrepresented minorities and girls.

Now here’s the best part about our Coding 5K Challenge. If you have “a passion and a pulse,” you can help! We need mentors to help teach these students, equipment on which they can be taught, and financial contributions to scale the effort. We call it “Time, Talent and Treasure,” and there is a role that each of us – and our organizations – can play.

You can join great organizations like KLA Tencor, IBM, Brigade, Deloitte and PwC who are supporting the Coding 5K challenge with finances and/or volunteer and in-kind support.

Intrigued? Please contact me or Alysa directly. I can be reached at cguardino@svlg.org. Alysa can be reached at acisneros@svlg.org. And 5,000 students each year can be reached at a public library near you.

–  Carl Guardino, CEO, Silicon Valley Leadership Group