By Kevin Lawver
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RailsBridge is a national non-profit founded in San Francisco to increase diversity in the technology community through free workshops targeted at under-represented communities.

We’ve been doing RailsBridge events with The Creative Coast in Savannah since 2013 and have introduced almost 400 people to coding in over a dozen workshops. Our goal is to reach as many people who either want to learn how to build things with code, or who have no idea that coding and web development are things that actual real human beings can do.

Speaking for myself, I see RailsBridge as an economic development activity and a way to fight poverty, and it hasn’t reached the people who really need it.

In the second half of the 20th century, it was possible to get yourself and your family to the middle class by learning a trade: plumbers, electricians, welders, factory workers. That’s no longer true, as a lot of those jobs are being taken by robots. In the 21st century, everyone in the workforce is in a race against robots (automation) for their jobs. We all have to learn how to learn new skills, solve continually harder problems, and evolve, if we want to keep ahead of the robots.

Today, web development is a craft that you can learn on your own, for free on the internet, and get yourself and your family to the middle class. It’s not easy and it’s not for everyone, but it is possible. It’s the 21st century version of being a factory worker, except you’re pushing code instead of assembling cars.

And that’s where RailsBridge comes in. It’s not going to teach you everything you need to know in a day, but it’ll give you a taste. It’s also a good way to try something new, and see that coding isn’t magic. We’ve had maybe a dozen students who’ve come through who are now professional web developers, and we’ve only been doing this 3 years!

All of our events are on our chapter page. If you run an organization in the Low Country that would like to host a RailsBridge event, all we need is wifi, coffee in the morning and lunch! If you’re interested in hosting, please reach out to Kevin!


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