Mentoring tech’s next generation

When most of us think about mentorship, we think about college grads in the early stages of their careers getting advice from sage, veteran professionals in their fields. However, kids need mentors too, especially the young people who have interest in technology.

The tech industry has a great need for young and talented tech individuals, but many young high schoolers who are interested in technology don’t have access to all the resources or guidance they need.

Nextech and TechPoint both have talent initiatives aimed at cultivating the next generation of tech professionals. And now, both organizations have partnered to help young techies further develop their skills and build a support network through The Nextech Mentor Program. This partnership of the TechPoint and Nextech Catapult programs offers high school students a chance to be a part of a tech family and helps show them a path to successful careers in tech.

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Program for High School Juniors and Seniors

  • Nextech Catapult: A 15-month immersive experience that combines industry relevant curriculum, work-based learning, career readiness and civic leadership opportunities.

Programs for College Juniors, Seniors and Grads

  • Xtern Bootcamp: Intensive job and skills training for tech-skilled college students.
  • Xtern: A 10-week tech internship experience for high caliber tech-skilled college students.
  • IndyX Tech Fellowship: A two-year program placing new tech grads with leading companies.

How does the mentorship program work?

Nextech Catapult students, Xterns, IndyX Tech Fellows, and Xtern Bootcampers all come together and form tech “families,” which include a participant from each TechPoint talent program to be paired with one Nextech Catapult student. These mentors lead and engage Catapult students through fun, educational and inspirational events and create an open dialogue for personal and career guidance. The mentors share their stories and experiences with each other to help give the Catapult students an understanding of what it looks like to pursue a career in technology.

The relationships built between high schoolers, college students and new grads helps them establish roots in the Indianapolis tech community and creates a network that has a vested interest in their educational and ultimately their future tech careers.

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The Catapult students are also learning valuable real-world tech skills. They build their own websites and learn the basics in several different coding languages, too. They tour major tech companies in Indy to get connected to industry professionals who are able to give them insight and guidance as to how they will be able to leverage their knowledge in the future.

Building tech community bonds

To say that the tech families have bonded is an understatement; they’ve had a wonderful summer attending great events, meeting for lunch together, going bowling, listening to success advocate and inspirational speaker NaShara Mitchell, and more! While the Xtern and Xtern Bootcamp program students are returning to school, the IndyX Tech Fellows will continue to work with and help guide the Catapult students throughout their two-year fellowship.

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“We were unable to anticipate how successful and impactful the Nextech/Techpoint Mentor program would be,” said Sasha Bannister, the program manager of the Nextech Mentor Program. “Our Catapult students left the program with real role models, professional connections, and most importantly, another group of people who believe in them. This program made our Catapults feel supported and connected; we couldn’t have dreamed up a better partnership!”

Even though this is only the first year of the program, it has been such a success that both organizations are convinced it will have a great impact on the lives and the careers of all of the programs future tech pros!

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CATEGORY: Education Technology, Nonprofits Technology CITY: Indianapolis

Non-profit focused on delivering education to the K-12 space

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bailey Bettis writes about the tech industry in Indiana. She is studying writing and business at Butler University.