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Santa Monica’s Tech Youth Program Hits Big Time

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By Lookout Staff

April 8, 2014 -- Santa Monica’s Youth Technology Program has made the InformationWeek Elite 100 list of the top business technology innovators in the country, City officials announced Monday.

Santa Monica was the only local government ranked on the list, escalating the innovative program for local high school students to “a level of IT innovation on par with Fortune 100 companies,” City officials said.

The program – which was ranked number 54 this year -- was featured in InformationWeek’s article “Twenty Great Ideas to Steal” that encourages the adoption of successful business models.

“The 2014 InformationWeek Elite 100 highlights companies that are leading (the) digital business revolution, redefining business models and reshaping industries,” said Rob Preston, editor in chief of the online web site for business technology professionals.

“Just as Amazon.com transformed the retail industry, Netflix changed the face of movie distribution, and Orbitz and others reinvented travel planning, new digital companies, technologies, and business models will shake up a range of other industries, from healthcare to manufacturing to higher education.”

The program’s 21 alumni are either attending college or planning to attend college after high school, said Jory Wolf, the City’s Chief Information Officer. Of those enrolled in college, 67 percent have selected Computer Science or IT majors and 100 percent obtained internships.
“We are very proud of the recognition, but most importantly appreciative of the program’s results.”

In its third year, the program gives juniors and seniors from Santa Monica high schools a chance to learn about modern technology and gain real-life experience in a tech startup environment tackling issues facing the beachside city. (“Youth Program Trains Next Generation of Santa Monica's Techies,” June 26, 2013)

During the six week program, students get a crash course in the City's traffic management systems, public safety systems, the Big Blue Bus systems and water maintenance systems, program officials said.

The students then work in two teams to launch a tech company that develops a product that fulfills a community priority specific to Santa Monica, officials said.
For additional details on the Youth Tech Program visit www.smgov.net/youthtech.


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