Inneract Project, a nonprofit organization, is collaborating with Facebook and Autodesk to bring design lessons to young people in underserved communities through free, hands-on classes and mentorship. With two full-time employees, an operations manager and a project leader, the organization aims to bring on part-time employees in the future.
Inneract Project has three major offerings: Youth Design Academy, an eight-week class for middle school students; Learning Labs, workshops, lectures, and studio tours for middle school and high school students; and a video series that documents designers, called Designed.
“I believe supporting programs like IP’s Youth Design Academy is a critical step in making design more accessible to students from all backgrounds, we all get better results when designers come together with unique perspectives,” Facebook’s Head of Design Luke Woods pointed out.
“Our challenge over the next four years is to obviously continue to teach design to kids but how do we get as deep into the community as possible so as to reach as many underserved minority kids as possible, we just haven’t had the resources to be able to dig as deep as we want to dig. It takes time and outreach. Kids, parents and administrators don’t really understand what design is entirely and how it fits in terms of not just an educational standpoint, but career standpoint,” Woods emphasized.
Autodesk and Inneract Project are developing a design bootcamp where the organization will work with 10 to 12 kids over the course of two weeks every day developing prototypes and fabricating using a 3D printer, Woods said.
“Design is a place where professionals are creating and designing things for people, that puts us in a really great position to learn the business side and learn how to market our own ideas and build businesses on our own. We want them to work at Facebook, at a Google, at an Autodesk, but we also want them to build a Facebook, Autodesk and Google. We want them to have that mentality so they’re not reliant on someone giving them a job, but creating opportunities,” Woods stated.