Ben Roberts, AT&T
(M) 716-262-5883 /

Camille Zess, Break The Ice Media
(O) 585-394-0787 x3 / (M) 585-752-2661
ROC Youth HackFest Powered by AT&T Challenges Youth to Use Technology for Social Good
Region's first ever youth hackathon is a partnership with iCanCode, Digital Rochester and AT&T to highlight the growing interest among local children in the fastest growing profession in the world
Rochester, NY - April 26, 2016 - On Saturday May 14, kids as young as eight years old will bring their laptops, imagination, and teamwork to the first youth hackathon in the greater Rochester region - known as ROC Youth HackFest Powered by AT&T. The hackathon will take place at iCanCode - a training school that promotes digital literacy in kids grade 1-12 - located at 1425 Jefferson Road Rochester, NY. The hackathon is a collaboration between iCanCode, Digital Rochester and AT&T, and was born out of a desire to expand coding opportunities for Rochester-area youth. Coding and computer science related skills are quickly becoming one of the most desired job skills to process in today's global economy. Programs like the ROC Youth HackFest Powered by AT&T will continue to expose youth to future career opportunities that are available in the fields of information technology and coding.
ROC Youth HackFest Powered by AT&T will be run in a similar fashion to other hackathons held locally - in which computer programmers and others involved in software and hardware development collaborate intensively on projects to solve challenges with technology. This time around, the event will be geared towards a younger crowd and focus on different types of issues within the digital world.  The young participants will build apps, games, websites, animations and interactive stories related to cyberbullying and internet safety, while being judged on their teamwork, code skills and design skills. The hackathon will feature mentors from area colleges, tech companies and local developers assisting the participants. The event is free to participate in, but is limited to 30 students, who must fill out an application and possess basic criteria coding skills to take part. Parents may register their children at
"We want to make sure kids are prepared for the future. So many of our young kids have the potential for high achievement in computer science, but have not had the opportunity to develop skills in computer science. We want to find them, introduce them to other coding enthusiasts, help them develop their minds and skills, and show parents and educators how to cultivate young talent in this area," said Farah Sammour, founder, iCanCode. "I thank AT&T and Digital Rochester for partnering with iCanCode to provide this innovative opportunity for the children of this community. It demonstrates their commitment to advancing STEM and coding education opportunities in the region and I appreciate Women in Computing at R.I.T (WiC) and Thimble for their support."
"AT&T is proud to collaborate with iCanCode and Digital Rochester to support this innovative experience for local students as it further enhances our commitment to providing resources for STEM and coding-related educational programing in the greater Rochester region and throughout theState," said Marissa Shorenstein, New York president, AT&T. "Our economy continues to transform at a robust pace - requiring a workforce with a focus on technological education and digital literacy - and STEM and coding opportunities like this one are vital to ensure that the students of today are prepared for the global economy of tomorrow. I am excited to see the creativity and innovation from the young minds that participate in this unique hackathon."
"Digital Rochester focuses on providing opportunities for growth and development among technology professionals and businesses in the greater Rochester region. The ROC Youth HackFest Powered by AT&T is a chance for our organization to get involved in development for the next generations of technology professionals - helping to grow the industry both in our area and on a global level," said Lisa Doerner, executive director of Digital Rochester.
Final projects at ROC Youth HackFest Powered by AT&T will be judged by a panel of judges made up of local tech experts, community leaders, education experts and elected officials. Each submission will be scored on its potential impact on the category entered, the quality of execution, and creativity or novelty within the work.  The hackathon will challenge participants to come up with technological solutions and tools to address the growing problem of cyberbullying and internet safety, while awarding for best design skills, code skills and teamwork.
Coding is quickly becoming the new literacy, with technology powering every electronic device kids and adults interact with. The appetite among students for coding is growing in popularity as the discipline is a main driver of innovation. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, much of the growth in the demotic and global economy will come from STEM related jobs - a highly lucrative and competitive field. While jobs overall are expected to grow by 10 percent in 2018, STEM jobs are predicted to grow by 17 percent, and it is estimated by 2020 there will be 2.4 million unfilled STEM jobs in the US. More than half of this growth will be made up of computer careers, underscoring the importance of providing the youth the tools and skills necessary to compete in this innovation economy. ROC Youth HackFest Powered by AT&T will help to create a future of smart, innovative applicants to help fill these jobs someday.
Interested persons can also follow the challenge on Twitter using the hashtag #YouthHackROC.
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About Philanthropy & Social Innovation at AT&T
AT&T Inc. is committed to advancing education, strengthening communities and improving lives. Through its community initiatives, AT&T has a long history of investing in projects that create learning opportunities; promote academic and economic achievement; or address community needs. AT&T Aspire is AT&T's signature philanthropic initiative that drives innovation in education by bringing diverse resources to bear on the issue including funding, technology, employee volunteerism, and mentoring. Through Aspire, we've passed the $250 million mark on our plan to invest $350 million in education from 2008-2017.
About Digital Rochester
 Digital Rochester was founded in 2000 and is made up of professionals and companies working together to strengthen the Greater Rochester Area's technology business community. DR events and community services include a wide array of educational and networking activities designed to support the growth and success of the Rochester business community. In 2010, the organization grew with the inclusion of the Association for Women in Computing (AWC) and eBusiness Association (eBA). In 2012, DR entered into a strategic alliance with Greater Rochester Enterprise (GRE). This alliance enhances DR's ability to support the Greater Rochester Region's business community.
About ICanCode
At iCanCode, a young generation of coders is being produced as part of an extracurricular after-school enrichment movement that aims at filling the void in our STEM education which has fallen behind in preparing the youth for 21st century skills needed for our economy.  The program encourages kids Grades 1-12 to use fun aspects of programming to engage so it is not boring.  Helping kids learn about coding at an early age, will also help them see coding for what it is a tool for logical thinking and problem solving.  With every level, and with increasing intensity as they advance through the curriculum, students are required to think their way through logic problems that can be resolved only with creative use of coding skills they have learned. With the right instructing and steady effort, many students advance pretty quickly, especially girls, who are getting involved in increasing numbers, and are making their presence felt. iCanCode has Girls Only classes to encourage girls' involvement in STEM given that the coding community has historically been largely

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