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Grammy Winner Ne-Yo Backs Summer Software Camp for Kids

May 30, 2017, 9:49 AM UTC

R&B star Ne-Yo is sponsoring a software coding camp at San Francisco’s Holberton School of Software Engineering this summer.

The program is part of Holberton’s mission to find and train minorities in software programming skills that are in high demand in the city and surrounding areas.

The camp is born out of Ne-Yo’s previously announced investment in Holberton—he participated in a $2.3 million round announced in February, and he has since joined the Holberton board of trustees.

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Ne-Yo, born Shaffer C. Smith, has won three Grammy awards and sold more than 10 million albums worldwide. He has also composed and produced songs performed by Rihanna, Beyoncé, Jennifer Hudson, Usher, and Carrie Underwood.

The Holberton School was founded two years ago by Sylvain Kalache and Julien Barbier to help fill the tech skills gap using non-traditional learning techniques. The school is free to qualifying students who then learn software skills via non-traditional project-based coursework. It is basically a learn-by-doing approach.

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The goal is to recruit and train promising students from all parts of society for hard-to-fill technology jobs in the San Francisco and Silicon Valley area. As of now, Holberton claims that 40% of its current students are women and more than half (53%) are people of color. It uses an automated selection process designed to reduce bias in admissions.

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Eight students will be picked for the free, three-week camp that starts June 26, and they will work with industry mentors, including Ne-Yo himself, who has agreed to chat with students via Skype during their term.