By ABC Online Courses, Open edX® Verified Provider  

Empowr is an Atlanta based nonprofit that has selected the Open edX platform to scale up their high fidelity school-to-career pipeline to more disadvantaged youth!

Founded by Adrian Le’Roy Devezin, Empowr provides a blended online curriculum that spans multiple years and prepares students with the necessary coding skills they need to find guaranteed employment in the tech industry upon graduation – with an average six figure salary.

Adrian’s reasons for founding Empowr stem from his own negative experience of high school where he was not provided access to proper coding classes even though he repeatedly asked, and was sometimes actively advised to not go out and try to learn to code. Soon after graduating he was working at a call center and decided it was time to teach himself to code. After he put in the hard work and built up a portfolio of his own apps, he was eventually flown out for interviews by the big tech companies and even landed a job at Google.

From that personal experience, Empowr is now making that same journey much easier for other young Black people who, like Adrian, want to learn to code but have no access to good opportunities in their own community. The Empowr pipeline is thereby helping to make tangible corrections to the issue of underrepresentation in the field of software engineering, particularly African-American high school students from Atlanta.

How does the Open edX platform play a part in this? 

It’s about scalability. Over the last two years, Adrian has had 18 students enter the program to learn to code. His first cohort graduated in May and received high paying software engineer jobs – the system works. Now, by using the Open edX platform, Empowr can have an easier time scaling up the solution to allow more high school students to enroll and to learn on-demand on any major device at any location. 

The platform also comes pre-installed with many useful teaching and learning features to create and manage instructor-led training, as well as self-paced learning, and is fully customizable, as it is an open source software. This has allowed Empowr to – among other things – create a private, safe, and custom branded online learning experience for the students, making it “cool” and fun for the students to learn! Furthermore, Empowr has developed their own Code Grader assessment type that allows their learners to get real time feedback on their submitted code samples.

Did Empowr develop their own Open edX platform?

Empowr has all the skills necessary to develop a custom Open edX platform, but nevertheless they did make the important decision to partner with an Open edX Verified Provider for this project, in order to reduce the learning curve, and to get their platform launched sooner and with more confidence. They developed their own custom theme and then approached ABC Online Courses, an Open edX Verified Provider, to do the installation and to perform ongoing monthly maintenance. We also want to give thanks to Régis Behmo from Overhang.io, Founder of Tutor for providing Empowr with early assistance in the forums when Empowr was first getting to know about the Open platform and community.

To learn more about Empowr, powered by Open edX, join the next virtual meetup on Thursday, October 27th and register to this free event here.

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