Justin Ortiz started Generation Outreach 10 years ago to give students in Rochester early exposure to tech careers.
“In the minority community, we’re underrepresented in a lot of these tech industries because it’s simply not presented to us,” said Ortiz. “Kids who have these careers presented to them usually excel in them, and people are going to make money out of these careers and why not it be our kids?”
Generation Outreach is receiving a grant from the My Brother's Keeper initiative that was started by former President Barack Obama. With the money, Generation Outreach will launch Operation GO, a 10-week apprenticeship program where kids learn to become entrepreneurs in tech industries.
The program will offer participants an opportunity to build skills and start a business in sneaker creation, video production, graphic design, app development and music production.
Ortiz said the goal is to teach students to transition from being consumers to producers.
“In our community, we consume the most, but if we can teach these kids how to produce your own brand how to produce your own business you never have to rely on anybody,” said Ortiz.
He said many students dropout of high school and college due to lack of interest, and he wants to be a part of changing that.
“I think some of the things we are doing are super unique and should be in every school, high school, middle school in the country because it’s just as important as math, social studies and science,” said Ortiz.
Operation GO begins on Monday, April 12. Applications are being accepted for Rochester-area youth ages 12 to 18.