Weekly hack nights provide a welcoming atmosphere where different organizations and community members come together to use technology and build new tools that address civic issues. National Day of Civic Hacking gives Code for America’s Brigade network of more than 45,000 volunteers an opportunity to gather a diverse group of people, all committed to making their communities stronger.
In 2015, Code for Boston used this event as a catalyst to unite more than 10 partner agencies and 80 people from all over the city who don’t typically work together. They were able to surface and prototype solutions to be developed by Code for Boston technologists throughout the year.
For example, YouthHub—a nonprofit focusing on local youth employment—proposed the challenge: “How might we improve youth employment in the Codman Square area of Dorchester?” Roughly 90 percent of youth in the area report that they are seeking a job, but only an average 25 percent have a job.
YouthHub connected with Jobcase—a social platform dedicated to empowering America’s workforce—to develop a new mobile app that sends young job seekers customized job postings targeted by location and skill level. Through their new partnership, Jobcase is providing access to local job information and collaborating with Code for Boston to launch the app before the rush for summer jobs. This partnership highlights the importance of bottom-up approaches to addressing youth employment that begin with a focused community-based request for assistance. Collaboration with YouthHub and Jobcase also underscores the role Brigades can play in connecting local community organizations with civic-minded private-sector organizations and data that can help build solutions to critical economic development challenges.