Making the Leap into Tech: The Unconventional Path

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This Cinco de Mayo, join us for a dynamic event!

Latin@s in Tech - Bay Area is hosting a panel on non-traditional paths into tech. Panelists will include Francisco Fuentes, who will discuss his experience teaching at Samaschool, a non-profit that helps low-income technologists get their first jobs in the digital economy. Leonardo Sosa, Technology Training Coordinator, will speak about the goals of Mission Techies, a free IT training program for Bay Area youth. Ricardo Bonilla will discuss the work of Hack the Hood, which introduces low-income youth of color to careers in tech by hiring and training them to build websites for small businesses in their own communities. Sebastian Belmar will speak about his experience as a Dev Bootcamp student and his ventures since graduating.

Panel Info:

Leonardo Sosa is the Technology Training Coordinator of Mission Techies. He has mentored over 1,500 youth to become technology ambassadors, and has trained over 100 instructors on best practices in a technology and leadership curricula across the country since 2003. He is currently the technology manager at the Digital Opportunity Center for MEDA, a multi-tiered resource that connects community members to computer training, broadband access to low income families, wireless access, support for job searches, financial education, and many other services.

Francisco Fuentes taught the first pilot program for Samaschool and trained instructors at various Samaschool locations. His experience has focused on curriculum development, producing multimedia content, and crafting learning tools with learning experience design in mind. He completed doctorate studies at UC Santa Barbara and has taught at UC Berkeley, Santa Barbara Community College, UC Santa Barbara, and Cal State University Los Angeles.

Ricardo Bonilla has been a K-12 educator and non-profit leader for over 17 years. He is the Oakland Programs Director for Hack the Hood. Through bootcamp study at Hack the Hood, young people gain valuable hands-on experience, build a portfolio, and learn about opportunities in the tech industry, as well as build critical technical, leadership, entrepreneurship, and life skills with mentorship from staff and tech professionals working in the field. Ricardo is also the co-founder of True Growth, a professional development program for youth interested in fine arts, music production, spoken word/poetry, dance, and tech.

Before becoming a software engineer, Sebastian Belmar was a senior financial analyst and a sustainability and business strategy consultant. Since moving to the Bay Area a few years back, Seba worked as a full stack developer at a San Francisco-based EdTech startup, and then at Renaissance Learning. In the midst of all this, he also became a father and founded MasonBottle.com with his wife. Seba loves spending time hiking, camping and being outside with friends and family.

Food and Venue:

Pizza and soft drinks provided. Dev Bootcamp is an alcohol-free space but we encourage folks to join us at Thirsty Bear Brewing Company (only a few blocks from DBC) after the event. We'll continue networking there. ThirstyBear is located at 661 Howard St.

Allies are welcome!