Impactful nonprofit that helps low-income people find work in the tech sector expands from NYC to Newark

NEW YORK — A New York City nonprofit with the mission to close the gaps in the education to employment pipeline has expanded to New Jersey. Its focus is on jobs in the tech sector.

On Tuesday, CBS2’s Jenna DeAngelis spoke to those who benefited from its programs and she has more on how you can get involved.

“I was stuck in the rut of tutoring jobs or swim instructor jobs,” Quiana Berry said.

While finishing up community college, Berry, of East Harlem, was exploring career opportunities.

“Something that was more lucrative than the life my parents could provide me,” Berry said. “I knew I want to work in tech. I don’t know how, when, where, but I’m gonna do it.”

She came across Bronx-based nonprofit The Knowledge House.

“An organization that provides tech education and workforce training for low-income people,” said Joe Carrano, who co-founded the organization in 2014.

“To expose people to this stuff and fast track their learning so they could get connected to employment as quickly as possible,” Carrano said of the group’s mission.

Its free, 12-month intensive programs prepare youth and young adults for tech-based career opportunities, from cybersecurity, to web development, data science, and more.

“It is a program that is set up to get them real world experience,” Carrano said.

After her experience, Berry landed an internship with software company Red Hat.

“From the internship, I got promoted to associate product manager as one of the only women of color on the team,” Berry said.

The Knowledge House is looking for applicants in four cities, including New York and Newark. In those locations, it partners with Brick Education Network.

“We really wanted to bring this program that unapologetically is saying that people of color, Black and brown students, and communities and other marginalized communities need to be involved in the tech career,” said Nichelle Holder, chief program officer for the Brick Education Network.

When asked why he is involved, Carrano said, “I was able to get myself out of poverty by teaching myself how to program, so I figured it it worked for me it would work for other people.”

And, he said, it has. The nonprofit has already helped 2,000 people, and counting.

“More people than I can count on my hands, of people I directly know for a fact that are making like $90,000 to over $100,000 right now who were working retail jobs before that or driving Ubers before that,” Carrano said.

The fellowship applications are due May 31. There are also always looking for companies to get involved. For more information on volunteering and corporate engagement, please click here.

For more on fellowship education, please click here. Applicants must have an income of $50,000 a year or less, possess basic computer literacy skills (typing, internet research, email, etc.), speak and understand English, possess a high school diploma, GED, or high school equivalency, and complete the entire recruitment process and pass all assessments.