Basic TrAIning: Bridging the digital skills divide
A curriculum focused on the future of the tech workforce
June 27, 2019 3 min read
Technology is transforming the world around us with new jobs, higher salaries, and considerable career advancement opportunities. In fact, by 2030 between 20 to 50 million jobs will be created to develop and deploy new technologies and eight out of ten “middle-skill” jobs will require digital skills. But the vast opportunities have created a digital divide. Teachers struggle to keep curriculum relevant with rapid advancements in the field and students often don’t know enough about different technology subfields to consider them as career options. Without a strong pipeline of talent driven by top notch education initiatives, the digital gap continues to widen and hiring managers struggle to find qualified candidates.
Creating a strategic path to grow
At Capital One we are further strengthening our commitment to the community by helping bridge the education gap. Through our Future Edge initiative, we are preparing more Americans with the skills, tools, and resources they need to succeed in a digital economy.
This initiative comes to life through programs like Capital One Coders. Since 2014, more than 10,000 students have been impacted by the Capital One Coders program, helping middle school students better understand and pursue their interests in STEM during a critical period in their education by teaching coding basics. With that as our model, we wanted to create another learning opportunity to further close the digital skills gap in high-demand areas like artificial intelligence and machine learning.
Designing to Ignite Interest
Curriculum in schools can take years to be approved and incorporated, but Capital One had an opportunity to be nimble and make a timely impact. In just six months, we created the Basic TrAIning curriculum in partnership with Major League Hacking to give students cutting edge resources in AI, software development, and technical problem solving, as well as introduce them to opportunities in STEAM fields.
The three-module curriculum teaches students the basic building blocks to the Python coding language through peer-led instruction and project-based learning, along with relatable real-world use cases of AI and machine learning (such as virtual assistants and suggested searches). By the end, students learn how to create a Markov Chain Bot that learns to communicate like their favorite celebrity.
Building the workforce of tomorrow
In April 2019, Capital One set a GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS title for the largest Artificial Intelligence programming lesson at Basic TrAIning: Bot Camp. The group consisted of 846 participants from various NAF academies in Dallas Independent School District (DISD), Plano Independent School District (PISD) and Uplift Academy, along with Capital One volunteers. During the event, local celebrity Dallas Cowboys Tight End Jason Witten made a surprise appearance and spoke to students on the importance of STEAM in their future career paths.
Witten said, “Trainings like these help students become better problem solvers, innovators and leaders,” and I couldn't agree more. It’s just one of the reasons Capital One launched an initiative to reach 10,000 students in three years with the Basic TrAIning curriculum. The free curriculum is available online and training materials are available to teachers and facilitators.
The future is upon us and we have a role to play to ensure the leaders of tomorrow are ready. Will you join us in spreading the word and helping us reach 10,000 students?