Stories of Service: Capital One Coders

Congratulations to Capital One Coders of Richmond – winner of the 2021 Governor’s Volunteerism and Community Service Award for Outstanding Corporation! Capital One Coders grew out of an idea that was sparked in 2014 by a Capital One staff member who saw a gap in computer training in K-12 classrooms. The company created Capital One Coders to inspire students from all walks of life to consider computer science as an attainable and exciting career path.

In partnership with public schools and other youth-serving nonprofits, the program helps middle school students cultivate a greater interest in computer science during a critical period in their development. In 2020, nearly 1,400 volunteers spent more than 24,000 hours with nearly 5,000 students. More than half of those volunteers were in Virginia alone spending more than 10,000 hours mentoring and teaching students.

The program runs through school and nonprofit partners to host afterschool programs and summer camps for students who may not otherwise have opportunities to explore technology. The volunteers expose students to a world of technology career options along with teaching them basic coding concepts, how to build mobile apps and websites, and about different coding languages like Python and Java. After learning the basic skills, students work in teams to build a project together, then showcase their work for their peers. Coders is also actively focused on increasing diversity in computer science and boasts more than 75% of participants being underrepresented minorities in tech and more than half are girls.

In response to the pandemic, the program quickly mobilized and provided $500,000 in grants for laptops and internet access to more than 2,000 families. When school buildings closed due to COVID, Capital One’s student outreach remained open. Volunteers adapted the program curriculum to fit an entirely virtual model, enabling associates to continue to inspire students through engaging web and app development programs.

Capital One Coders is an innovative program effecting change in areal way. Through showing students the possibilities that lie ahead by exploring computer science and inspiring students to take a stronger interest in STEM fields, Virginia’s students see a future that is brighter and full of possibilities!

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