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Facebook donates $50,000 to help AlbanyCanCode grow

Facebook donates $50,000 to help AlbanyCanCode grow

Capital Regon nonprofit teaches students skills to enter tech workforce
Facebook donates $50,000 to help AlbanyCanCode grow
From left to right, Lisa R. Harris of Facebook and Annmarie Lanesey and Rachel Sheridan of AlbanyCanCode are shown Thursday.
Photographer: Photo provided

ALBANY — A local nonprofit computer training provider on Thursday announced it had received $50,000 from Facebook, the first grant in the Capital Region from the social media giant.

AlbanyCanCode said the money will accelerate its expansion across the state and increase student access to its computer education and training programs. It is hoped that this move will give more people the skills they need to land jobs in the booming tech sector and provide companies more potential job candidates in a tight labor market.

The initial expansion attempts are underway in the Hudson Valley. The grant will fund curriculum development, instructor training, construction of employer and partner networks, student recruitment and marketing.

Lisa R. Harris, Facebook’s director of state and local economic development policy, said in a news release: “We are proud that this donation will allow more New Yorkers to have access to coding programs that help them reach personal career goals while strengthening the state’s economy.” 

AlbanyCanCode currently offers courses in front-end web development, which teaches the technical skills necessary for user interface development and wire framing; JavaScript Fundamentals, the dominant scripting tool for front-end web development; and SQL/EQL, which is used for database and analytical software. The instruction is supplemented with real-word experience, as the students work in teams on projects that assist community organizations.

AlbanyCanCode also offers education and training in collaboration with educational institutions at all levels.

Thursday morning’s announcement of the Facebook grant was made during a ceremony at the Troy Innovation Garage, a flexible coworking space that serves the creative economy.

Among those speaking at the event was Ramon Vazquez of Schenectady, an AlbanyCanCode graduate who took a Front End Web Development course in 2018, then studied JavaScript Frameworks last spring and SQL/ETL last summer. He now works as a front-end developer for UPPMarket in Troy, and returned to AlbanyCanCode as an instructor for autumn 2019 classes.

“After doing some coding programs online, I still didn’t have the confidence in my skills to look for a job in the tech industry,” he said. “AlbanyCanCode helped me strengthen my skills, network with local employers, and land my first job as a web developer. A year later, and I am back to teach the next round of AlbanyCanCode students!”

The 501(c)(3) organization started in 2016 with nine students and has since graduated more than 150. Its current class of 57 students is its largest yet. Graduates have landed jobs with employers including Accenture, Goldman Sachs, New York State Office of Information Technology Services, and MVP Healthcare, and have realized average annual salary increases of more than $15,000.

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