Program Notes

We currently operate or underwrite several education and workforce development related programs. They are:

About Code4Life

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The “Sputnik Crisis” was triggered by the launch of Sputnik 1, the world’s first artificial satellite, on October 4, 1957 from what is now known as the Baikonur Cosmodrome. It stirred within the American people a sense that they had fallen behind the Soviet Union technologically, and in the “race for space.”

But Americans didn’t panic. In short order, they created the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and NASA. Less than a year after the launch of Sputnik, Congress passed the National Defense Education Act. It was a four-year program that poured billions into the U.S. education system.

Within a decade, the U.S. had launched the first human into space. We landed on the moon in 1969. The U.S. has dominated space exploration ever since. Countless technological innovations sprung from that period, from Tang to the World Wide Web.

2017 represents a new Sputnik moment. The American workforce is at risk of being left behind. The next century will be one dominated by information technology.

If American workers are not equipped with the skills required to succeed in our technology-based future, we risk falling permanently behind in a variety of ways. It is time for America to accept the challenge of the next century and put the same level of effort that followed Sputnik into preparing its workforce for the 21st century.

Astronauts will land on Mars, but it is the computer scientists who will get them there.

The most important education policy challenge we face in America today is improving access to computer science education. Only a fraction of our school districts, mainly in Silicon Valley, have integrated full-blown computer science education into their regular for-credit curriculum. Our foundation and many others are actively advocating for the completion of this integration as quickly as possible, but Congress has been slow to act.

Until then, Code4Life is a first of its kind after-school program developed by us in partnership with Accenture. It teaches basic computer programming skills to middle-school students. As good as the program may be, it is a crude substitute for the full-scale integration of computer science education into the regular for-credit curriculum. Until national policymakers and our patchwork of local school-districts across the country get serious about the integration, programs like Code4Life will play an important role in experimenting with best practices.

Our program is designed to impart to middle-school students the basic computer programming and development skills that will provide them with the tools and the confidence to pursue a career in computer science.

While many of our participants will pursue undergraduate degrees, there are numerous career paths within computer science that provide an opportunity to earn a middle-class living that do not require a four-year degree. Our program is designed to provide a foundation from which a career in computer science can be built.

According to the Georgetown University Center for Education and the Worforce, between now and 2025 there will be upwards of 107,000 high-paying technology related jobs created in the DC area that do not require a college degree. Code4Life puts some of those jobs within reach.


The program began in September of 2014 with one classroom and 15 students at KIPP NE Academy in Trinidad. When our Spring 2017 semester begins in March, we will be operating in approximately 35 classrooms with over 500 students participating in the program, including at KIPP, Francis-Stevens Middle School, Hart Middle, Johnson, Howard University Middle School/Girls Inc., Chavez Prep, Chavez Parkside, Stuart-Hobson, EL Haynes, Leckie Elementary, Center City PCS, and Excel .

One of the problems with computer science in America today is its lack of diversity. About 90% of all computer scientists are white males. Our program requires that at least 50% of the participants at each of our schools are girls and the vast majority of our participants are African-American or Latino.


Code4Life Week 2

Accenture volunteers teach Module One at KIPP NE Academy

How It Works

The class meets for two hours after school, one day per week, for 8 consecutive weeks in each semester.

The program is designed for students to remain with us working on progressively more complex programming throughout their middle school careers.

We teach four different curricula we call Modules each semester. Technical staff at Accenture developed the curriculum for Module One based on a programming language developed at the University of California at Berkeley called SNAP. It’s a visually oriented entry-level programming language designed to introduce students to programming for the first time.

Module Two is an HTML and CSS class that was developed by IT staff at George Washington University that teaches participants how to code basic websites. Module Three is an introduction to big data and data analytics developed by Accenture, and Module Four introduces students to smartphone app development using the MIT App Inventor.

Code4Life Week 2 -- Student Presentation 2

A Code4Life student presents her final project

Code4Life is funded by a fee paid by each school per classroom per semester. While these fees cover most of our expenses, we are constantly raising money to support our expansion and curriculum development. To support Code4Life financially, simply click the “Contribute” button at the top of the page. The Foundation is a registered 501(c)(3) public charity. Your contribution is fully tax-deductible as a charitable gift. If you like to learn more about the benefits of supporting Code4Life, contact our executive director,  Dave Oberting, at

If you’d like to bring Code4Life to your school, email us at

Here are some links to recent news coverage of Code4Life:

Natalie Wexler’s Greater Greater Washington article

Opportunity Lives article

Click below to see Code4Life featured on the Harris’ Heroes segment of a recent ABC7 broadcast:



Ex-Offender Job Placement Project

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Operation Capstone is an initiative developed and underwritten by the Economic Growth DC Foundation that finds jobs for DC residents who have recently returned to the District from incarceration.

Out of a population of over 672,000 residents, it is estimated than in excess of 50,000 DC residents have a criminal record of some kind and approximately 50% of those individuals are believed to be unemployed. Furthermore, according to the Center for Regional Analysis at George Mason University, those residents are missing out on approximately $915 million in lost wages annually. See here for details and methodology: Returning Citizens Lost Wages. That’s almost a billion dollars in lost economic activity, and well over $100 million in lost tax revenue annually.

Here’s how the program works: The team operates in a fashion similar to the way a typical staffing or recruiting firm works. Using industry experience and expertise, team members initiate, develop, build and maintain relationships with employers willing to provide DC residents who’ve paid their debt to society with a second chance. We rely on non-profit partners, the District’s Department of Employment Service’s Project Empowerment, and the Office of Returning Citizen’s Affairs to provide us with job ready candidates.

We then find an employer that is suitable for each candidate’s skills and background. We aim for full-time positions with benefits that pay a living wage. Our goal is to place 1,500 returning citizens in our first twelve months of operations. A program of this type makes sense for our foundation because our executive director, Dave Oberting, has over twenty years of job placement experience. Here is a link to his resume: Oberting Dave Resume2.

If you have recently returned to the District from incarceration and are in need of employment, or for more information about the program, contact our executive director, Dave Oberting, at

To see the Operation Capstone business plan, click here.