FutureINDesign (FIND) is currently recruiting for its youth program, FIND Creative, which will begin once again in the fall. FIND’s Xris Macias recently shed some light on the program and the benefits of enrollment.
“FutureINDesign is looking for students who either have an interest in technology, design and starting their own business, or who never really thought about it but want to see the opportunities,” said Macias.
FIND has been around for six years and this will be the beginning of the seventh academic year. The program teaches classes on coding, programing and design. Participants will also learn how to acquire various certifications for software. The hope is that participants will use these skills to secure high-paying jobs or start their own business.
High school teachers assist with teaching and FIND has a partnership with Utah State University to teach at a college level, which means that students receive credits for participation. This will later count toward college electives if the students wish to go that route, which is encouraged.
Macias stated that classes are traditionally small, less to 20 students, and are divided. Usually, the classes are off-location from high schools, though they are kept as close to the target schools as possible. There are two locations for the classes, with one in Price and one that is beginning this upcoming year in Kearns. The classes are Monday through Thursday from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. As this overlaps with school schedules, participation requires an early release to attend.
Following course completion, FIND has witnessed students start their own businesses, ranging from design to selling and marketing their own stickers online to beginning their own fashion brand. There are also students that now work for Google or local tech companies. In addition, one student works in human resources for nonprofits and quite a few have part-time jobs selling or designing for corporations.
“Our organization is very much focused not on just getting that high paying job, or just the skills, but for social impact,” said Macias. “We ask questions to the students right from the beginning, such as ‘could an app help solve police brutality?’ ‘Could a search engine be different it was created by a woman of color?'”
Macias stated that, by asking these sort of social impact questions, participants begin to think about how technology and entrepreneurship can change society. The classes are not just about tech, but what the students can bring to the table, which Macias said attracts people that might not have been very interested in tech in the first place.
The overall organization began because these questions were not at the forefront of technology. In rural communities, there is less access to tech jobs, especially in Price, which is historically a coal mining industry. Economically speaking, this is no longer a viable resource, which leads to the next thing: design, technology, re-marketing communities through recreation, tourism and more.
Classes will begin in August and run through May. Typically, they begin the second week of school and end the week before graduation. There are two ways to apply and the first is the easiest: by going to FutureINDesign’s website. From there, click on FIND Creative and apply. The second way is to email either Macias or Nicholina Womack to receive a form. Through direct outreach, there is an opportunity to have more questions answered.
Macias’ email is firstname.lastname@example.org and Womack’s is email@example.com.