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From Gang Bangers to Web Developers? 603

Posted by Cliff
from the turning-ones-life-around dept.
evenprime asks: "The Economist is running an article about a program that takes gang members in Milwaukee, sends them through rehab, and teaches them web development so that they can have a decent paying job. I think this type of program - one that gives people the ability to help themselves - is a great idea, and it is something that many of us could help with. Do slashdot readers know of any similar programs in other places? If so, what type of qualifications do you think they would require before allowing someone to help teach web design?" Such programs are just too damned cool. Are there any others like it?
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From Gang Bangers to Web Developers?

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  • Gang bangers? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by aozilla (133143) on Thursday October 25, 2001 @11:03AM (#2477587) Homepage
    Aren't we being a little presumptuous here? Kind of like saying all members of that linux gang are hackers...
    • Amen Brother (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Erris (531066)
      Programs like this that reward misbehavior piss me off. The money is better spent on honest people, you know like on high schools. Criminals have proved that they can not be trusted by violating other people. They should never be trusted again, and certianly never rewarded or given special opertunities that others do not have.

      Honest livings can be had in contruction, washing dishes, taking out garbage and what not that requires little trust. This is what criminals should end up doing. If they want to do more, and pay for it, good for them and good luck. Trade organizations realize this. You can't get so much as a plumber's liscense if you have a criminal record, and that's the way it should remain.

      The damage to the IT proffesion's reputation is secondary to the real harm well trained criminals can do. Yes, dishonest people can and do aquire skills. Every learning institution and every proffesional organization tries to exclude the dishonest, but nothing's perfect. Programs like this start out with the dishonest and train them up. There is a much greater probability of these people doing harm with their knowledge because you have selected the worst of all people to start out. Gangs trained by police departments in Los Angeles have a record of being nothing but stronger for the effort.

      This is very backward thinking in a country that will keep "hackers" away from computers forever.

  • The terms "Web development" and "Decent paying job" are mutually exclusive these days, neh?
    • Well it depends on your definition of "decent paying job". I think you're confusing "decent paying" and "high paying".

      What's a reformed gang banger going to get a legitimate job doing? Suppose he/she has been Livin tha Gangsta Life(TM) since a young age, and maybe doesn't have a solid education beyond, say, elementary or junior high. What options would be available? Fast food? Secretarial work? Telemarketing? Various forms of manual labor? Now, what do jobs like that pay? Minimum wage? $10/hr? $17/hr after 25 years?

      Now look at a low paying web job. What do they pay? $35000/yr? $40000/yr? It's decent.

  • by scott1853 (194884) on Thursday October 25, 2001 @11:07AM (#2477619)
    They're already used to working with tags :)

    Sorry, couldn't resist.
  • It's a grand idea. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by dave-fu (86011)
    Unfortunately, web design? With the advent of WYSIWYG editors like Dreamweaver and the lot and the decline and fall of startup "civilization", the ability to put together a web page won't get these kids too far (the article doesn't mention anything about programming or administration skills above and beyond simple web design being taught).
    Slapping a cheap band-aid on a failing educational system ("The city has a 60% high-school dropout rate") won't fix anything permanently. It's nice that he's helped 72 lost youth find gainful employment, but what of the tens of thousands who haven't receieved aftermarket intervention?

  • Actually, wasn't this how Australia got *it's* start?
  • I think there's some great commonality there...

    If you join a gang, you learn their secret customs.
    If you join a web group, you learn their secret locations for web documents

    In a gang, you have undying loyality to the leader, without any justification why.
    In a web group, you have undying loyality to your particular brand of web server, without any justification why.

    In a gang, you are forced to do stupid things, like homemade tattoos.
    In a web group, you're forced to use stupid products, like Weblogics.

    In a gang, you carry a gun that you use a lot.
    In a web group, you carry an ego that you could use to kill someone.

    If you leave the gang, they try to kill you.
    If you leave the web group, they kill your access.

    See, very very similar.

  • I think a lot of ex-web developers will be running to Compton, begging the gang-bangers to teach them how to pimp and push crack.
  • Seriously, how many of you have dealt with your local IT guy and not thought that they were previously gang bangers? All you have to do is look at the situation where you have an IT group rather than just one guy, they revert back to their gang mentality. True it is a more nerdy gang and there's more pocket protectors and less Uzis and bandanas, but think about it, they operate like a gang.

    Think back to the last time you needed to install a program, you couldn't do it because you don't have "administrative rights." In other words, it's IT's turf, and you can't tread on it. Then you asked the IT guy that was floating around if he could do it, and he said "you need to talk to my administrator." In other words, knuck-knuck can't make those types of decisions, show some respect and go talk to little T-Moe if you want to get the hookup. So you go talk to little T-Moe and you say that it's Mission Critical and you need it ASAP. Well, he says "we have logged your request and we will assist you as soon as we have the resources." In other words, as soon as Big-C is finished with his 40 ounce and box of BBQ Wangs, he'll bounce on over to your cube and computer-jack your workstation for the couple of hours it takes him to install your application. Then you call little T-Moe when the job is done to say thanks, and all he says is "fuhgettaboutit."

    This also poses another interesting question: were they gangbangers before or after they graduated from the Devry institute?

    Seriously though, this program of troubled youths to web developers is something to watch closely and see how things turn out, if it ends up being positive and these kids really become upstanding citizens then we need to start more similar technology related programs.

    But of course if it doesn't work out then this just means there will be a lot more websites that steal your credit card information...
  • This is not a slur towards anyone or anything, but the bigger problem is that most of these kids can't even read. I was interested in doing this sort of thing a couple of years ago when I was living in LA.

    I spoke with someone who was actually did urban education. She came into it wanting to teach urban kids advanced skills and ended up teaching them basic reading and writing skills.

    There are alot of skills Slashdotters take for granted that these kids probably don't know. Like reading at a 9th grade level or knowing multiplication tables or how to write a paragraph.

    Brian Ellenberger
    • There are alot of skills Slashdotters take for granted that these kids probably don't know. Like reading at a 9th grade level or knowing multiplication tables or how to write a paragraph.

      Have you been reading the same Slashdot that I have?

    • I interviewed for a telemarketing job and was asked to read the script. I thought is was something like acting, they wanted to see how well I could read it, with inflections and such.

      Later on I realized that it wasn't the case, and asked the guy who interviewed me why they did that.

      It was a reading test.

      They wanted to see if I could read.

      They've had applicants fail the reading test.

      I was speechless. I read so much, every day, I couldn't imagine someone without that ability.

      Hell, I can't imagine what I'd DO all day without the ability to read.
  • by Tassach (137772) on Thursday October 25, 2001 @11:18AM (#2477721)
    Web development is more than being able to use FrontPage, or even being able to hand-code HTML. Language skills are essential -- an ungrammatical, misspelled web page is unprofessional. Some artistic / asthetic skill is required too -- chosing good color schemes, coming up with an attractive & functional layout, etc.


    I think that web development is still a pretty decent entry-level job. While there are not as many new public web sites, most big companies are still investing a lot of time & money in their intranets. Web development is becoming like every other kind of software development -- 90% of it is done for internal company use. That's not going to change anytime soon.

  • by TomatoMan (93630) on Thursday October 25, 2001 @11:20AM (#2477733) Homepage Journal
    Then-governor of Wisconsin Tommy Thompson (now Secretary of Health and Human Services in the Bush administration) tried something similar with the W2 [jsonline.com] program in 1996: giving welding training to welfare recipients so they could have decent-paying jobs and get off welfare.

    Sounds great, but many of these people, as I understand it, had never worked before, and were fired shortly after being placed because they had no workplace skills that emphasized things like showing up on time or calling in if they were sick. They had welding skills, but there's a lot more that goes into getting someone ready to join the workforce. Specific-skill training seems a temptingly easy solution to transition-to-workforce problems, but it has to be part of a bigger plan if it's going to work.
    • they had no workplace skills that emphasized things like showing up on time or calling in if they were sick.

      Funny. Certainly I am not the first to notice that Industrial-Age schools and Industrial-Age prisons are very similar to factories in terms of set times and hierarchy.
  • Just what the world needs. I get at least one application every day from "web developers" who want to tap into that vast market for web pages out there. Each and every one has done at least one web page. Some have done two or three. They can all use Frontpage but none of them can read their HTML, few have heard of XML, and they all pronounce Linux "lie-nix".

    I know a phone tech who wants $36,000 a year cuz he is "really a web developer". He'd be better off learning what DNS means.

    I think the answer to poverty is not quick-and-easy training in some buzz-word technology or how to use some piece of software. I think that the groups involved in leadership of minority groups have to take some responsibility for their own community failings and start to drive their kids towards real, thorough (that means "hard work") education.
  • And I was just about to join a gang because the job market for web development isn't very promising at the moment.

    Why don't they train them for more stable jobs? Like something in healthcare or public service. The technology market is flooded anyway. So these people will recieve this training and have all the "promises" and then they won't be able to find a job much better than food service.

    Wouldn't the black market and the drug trade seem to have better pay offs?
  • It's not specifically technical, but it's a highly successful (well, relative to any Government program) welfare to work program that's privately funded, typically by the companies that hire people.

    http://www.strivecentral.com/ [strivecentral.com]
  • Take a look at http://www.citysoft.com/ [citysoft.com]. They've been around for a couple of years and do similar things for Boston, NY, and Baltimore. The interesting thing here is that they try and do it for profit, rather than pure charity.
  • Web development? Are they crazy? These guys might get one decent paying job, but as people wise-up they're going to stop paying web monkeys 2x what they're worth; it's already happening. They'll be even -more- pissed off then!

    So now we've got technology savy, pissesd off, gang bangers. They'll be using the web to communicate and organize a revolution against the penal system and all Hell will break loose! Hey, I have an idea, lets give them guns while were at it!

    Okay, but seriously... why web development? It's really a dead-end job and dying off at that. Give 'em something better, like *nix system administration or OO programming. At least then I'd look better coming into job interviews.
  • "[the program] sends them through rehab"

    I was just sort of passively taking this in as being a bit stereotypical. Not all gang members need rehab. Being in a gang does not make you a drug user and not all people in gangs have any serious problems.

    How many of us would call our own little geek cults gangs? Ever have one of your group wronged by someone then have the group dislike and/or take action against a person? Would you call Masters of Deception (MOD) a gang? There's a few parallels between street gangs and geek cults, so... *shrug*
  • by supabeast! (84658) on Thursday October 25, 2001 @11:39AM (#2477894)
    Right now most nations spend billions of dollars every year filling prisons with people who sit in cages all day watching television. Those people then get released years later, with no new skills, severely damaged social skills, and no real contacts other than criminals they met in prison.

    Imagine if, instead of being locked down all day, the US prison population was educated. Classes all day, homework all night. Give them job skills. Rehabilitate criminals into functional members of society so that when they get out they know how to do something other than be a pain in the ass!

    Of course, is most of the world this will never happen, because prison building and maintenance is now an important industry, and rehabilitation of criminals is detrimental to construction companies, their employees, police unions and their members, as well as prison employee unions and their members. Welcome the the twenty-first century, where deprivation of human freedom is a commodity.
    • I see. Hmmm, should I take out a student loan to attend Penn State, or should I sell crack in front of the police station so that I can get my free degree from the state penn?

      Why should criminals get their education paid for by taxpayers while honest folks have to pay for their own education? Why stop with web development? Why not expand that to things like aeronautical engineering?

      Want to teach them something? Teach them how to sweep litter off the sidewalks or pick up roadkill from the streets. Leave web development to those who have some software development skills. After all, not everything can simply be whipped up in FontPage.
      • "Want to teach them something? Teach them how to sweep litter off the sidewalks or pick up roadkill from the streets. Leave web development to those who have some software development skills. After all, not everything can simply be whipped up in FontPage."

        That mindset is exactly the problem with criminal rehabilitation. Do criminals deserve to be repaid with kindness for their actions? No. Does treating them like subhuman scum do us any good in the long run? No.

        If we are going to spend a fortune incarcerating people for long periods of time, we might as well make sure that they can be worthwhile members of society when they come out. It beats the hell out of them returning to life with the rest of us, angry and useless. I would rather a criminal leave prison with with useful skills and social graces than to have him leave prison and kill someone a few months later because he still does not know how to exist in a civilized society.
    • Imagine if, instead of being locked down all day, the US prison population was educated. Classes all day, homework all night. Give them job skills. Rehabilitate criminals into functional members of society so that when they get out they know how to do something other than be a pain in the ass!

      You are assuming that most criminals *want* to be something other than a pain in the ass.

      Some will, certainly.
      Many won't.

      Problems occur when, as happens every few decades, someone has the bright idea that *all* prisoners should just be "rehabilitated", and then sent out into the world as productive, honest members of society.
      Any real scheme should take into account the fact that a large number of people in prison are truly criminal - inclined to committing crimes - and will continue to do so. Help the ones who are interested in being helped, but don't assume they all will be.

      The primary purpose of prison, IMO, should be neither punative nor rehabilitative - it should be to keep the prisoners from further harming the rest of society.
      • Seems like you've set up a nice straw man here, but let's try to get back to the original idea at hand. People go to prison when they commit a crime. They don't stay there forever usually. They are eventually released. Now, as it stands, they spend their time in prison learning new criminal tricks and probably developing some pretty bad psychological problems. So, what happens when they are released? Well, they are even worse off than when they went in. They have no new (legal) skills. They can't get a decent job. They are by all means second-class citizens. What's the likely outcome? They turn back to crime since they have no future.


        The proposed alternative here is that we provide them with education so that they will have an alternative to crime when they are released. Nobody is saying that all criminals can or will be rehabilitated. But there are large numbers of criminals incarcerated for relatively minor crimes. They'll probably be in for 5 years or less. That's a lot of time that could be used in a productive way. We don't know what the success rate would be for such a program, but I think it's worth trying, simply because the possibility of improving society is worth the very little risk that such a program entails.

    • Right now most nations spend billions of dollars every year filling prisons with people who sit in cages all day watching television.

      Most nations? I don't think too many inmates in Turkish prisons have basic cable, same for the other countries who run their justice systems the proper way-- by punishing their criminals instead of coddling them in some nice warm jail with plenty of food and TVs. Yeah, prisoners in the U.S. sure learn their lesson by having the state take care of them, and all they do is work in the prison laundry or something a few hours a day.

      Imagine if, instead of being locked down all day, the US prison population was educated.

      Imagine if, instead of being locked down all day, the US prison population (or at least the 1st -degree murderers and habitual felons) was executed. Then my tax dollars might go towards more worthwhile things than feeding, clothing and housing this subhuman trash, like maybe helping the families of their victims.

      And none of this 'humane' execution nonsense. Use a wood chipper. Murderers dropped in head-first, and rapists and child molesters lowered in, slowly, feet-first.

      ~Philly
      • by Danse (1026)

        You have absolutely no clue what US prisons are like, do you? I happen to know people that work in prisons, and one of my brother's friends happens to be in prison right now. It's a twisted, fucked up, sick place to be. You try to make it sound like the lap of luxury.

    • >> Imagine if, instead of being locked down all day, the US prison population was educated. Classes all day, homework all night. Give them job skills.

      Then I'd get my ass arrested to get a free education. Seriously. Why struggle to work while going to school, so you can pay the bills, when you could sit in jail for free and get a free education?

      MadCow

    • Prison systems should offer some education. Many do right now. The ones in my state all have GED programs and thats a good start. I do think community college level stuff should certainly be offerred in prison, more so than now. The public already pays for that. I think motivation is very important for prisoners. If sentences routinely included educational components (no B&E can be released until they can read) or if education counted towards good behavior that would help. I don't think the fact that many prisoners simply have to be punished and warehoused can be ignored either though.
    • Thats a good idea, just make the classes video based/cbts and those who don't want to learn, fine. But those who pass the exams get out sooner and can get a job.
    • I got an idea...

      Instead of spending *even more money* on our prison population turning a trip to the cooler into a semi-vaction where society's thugs and hoodlums can hang out, pump iron, and chill with their friends, we make them work for their food and take away their TV.

      After a long, back-breaking day in the fields growing their corn and beans, if they want entertainment, we can set up a lending program with the nearest library (since we're paying for the library anyway).

      I'm quite curious where this idea of "rehabilitation" comes from, when the entire point of prison is to punish criminals and keep them segragated from society.

      If recidivism is your worry, we can cure it. Chop the hands off thieves and castrate sexual predators. How's that?

  • I've seen dozens of these stories: retrain prisoner/welfare/vetern/disabled to become IT wizard. The training companies then get big grants from the government. Tech how to use all of MS-Office or program in Visual Basic or hmtl. Late night and day time ads on TV.

    I hope it helps. I hope these companies are realistic to students about the saturated market.

  • I was a project manager at a company called CitySoft [citysoft.com] back when it was just 7 employees. It has grown significantly since then. Part of the growth was due to limited initial funding, we had to grow organically from new business. More recently, infusions of modest amounts of VC (some from the like of Esther Dyson and others) have allowed expansion from the initial Cambridge/Boston location to NYC and Baltimore.

    My experience there was on the whole a very positive one. We were successful at finding talented youth from inner-city Boston and getting them trained in basic web development tools and techniques. At the time this was Front Page and Photoshop. While I protested FP somewhat initially, I came to realize that the almost immediate ability to contribute the the company's work that FP allowed was more valuable than FP's notable drawbacks. Part of my role as a PM was in some respects to filter out some of those issues. Towards the end of my time there we began using Allaire's Cold Fusion, and I suspect that the developers probably get some training in that now.

    As with any operation like this, there were some problems. For most developers, this was their first experience of gainful employment in their lives. The friction between their new 9-5 lifestyle and their situations at home caused difficulties, as did the fact that old habits die hard--frankly, some of these kids had never been required to perform diligently and consistantly in their lives. The coat and tie dress code was another area of complaint (and not just with the developers I managed). In essence though, that was the real challenge of the company: changing the outlook of these kids from one of entitlement to one of empowerment. While most normal businesses don't need to confront these social aspects of employment so acutely, CitySoft's mission and hiring policy required it. Nick Gleason [citysoft.com], the CEO, had done a good deal of homework on how to attack these issues, and had some solid ideas that he brought into practice.

    In hindsight, I was lucky to be a part of such an organization. The fact that the company seems to have lived through the .com boom and bust is a testament to the efforts of the founders, and their sound business practices. Further, though, I can personally attest to their belief in the company's mission [citysoft.com], and their unflagging efforts to make it reality.

    --cleetus

    (The also do darn fine web development work too. It's well worth giving them a shot.)
  • He had some limited computer skills, but his probation restrictions only allow him to be a gang member, or an actor. Kinda the same deal eh?
  • You don't get it (Score:2, Insightful)

    by bodland (522967)
    The point here is empower these kids with some skill that will provide a return to the community. Were not talking about creating websites for GE starting a dotcom here. learning web development opens pretty much the whole realm of IT to people. How mnay of you learned programming, troubleshooting and a host of other skills just creating a simple HTML wep page.

    From reading /. for more than a year now I have rarely seen any social issues that touch on race. Well this topic has certainly uncovered the vast amount of racial ignorance on this board.


  • .... is "So now the porn stars ar emaking their own websites?"


    I can't be alone here :)

  • Oh great... (Score:2, Troll)

    by ryanvm (247662)
    Great - now I'll have to put up with co-workers that say stuff like: "Shit bizatch, that muther-fuckin' Linux be phat!" ;-)
    • that will be nothing compared to the php/perl gang affiliations... i can see a bunch of gansta php developers (colors: blue & yellow) pumping a few rounds into a crowd of perl hackers.

      it's not exactly a fair fight, either. i mean, considering that the php'stas get to zip around in their pimp rizzides while the perl g's have to ride camels.
      • I envision east coast/west coast style Emacs/Vi battles.

        I can almost hear the Script Kiddies... no, Script Playah's saying: "Word, yo! Emacs be tha muthafuckin gleem bling bling! i get all up on that, and then I be rollin on my 20s wit my posse bringin up tha linux rear, word! Where the cristal at?"
    • Hey! Who modded up a First Post?

      --Blair
  • ..Microsoft Sales Rep? I don't think they would need too much training.
  • TROSA stands for Triangle Rehabilitation Options for Substance Abusers and is a fabulous model of how drug rehab programs can work. Founded around 1995, they're based in the Research Triangle area of NC, and currently have over 300 participants in their residential program.

    Here's the idea. Participants, after qualifying for the program, live on site, dorm-style, for the 2-2.5 years that they are in the program. Discipline and scheduling are tight (not much idle time for them to fall back into old habits) and contact with old friends and family are limited. During their time in program, they learn trades by working in the 7 different businesses that TROSA runs.

    TROSA gets only a small portion of its funding from governmental sources. The majority of its funding is raised by running businesses owned and operated by TROSA: masonry, moving company, laundry, painting, catering, landscaping, and others. While the participants work, their "salary" goes into a savings account that is given to the participant upon his/her graduation from the program, along with a car, a shared apartment, and job placement services. This way, not only are the participants rehabilitated, but they're actually given a head-start on their new life!

    Having volunteered with TROSA in the past, and having seen the enormous progress made in their 6 years of operation, I'm convinced this is a worthwhile model for other programs to follow and that job skills training needs to be a part of any program that seeks to help people get on with their new lives so they don't lapse into recidivism.

  • why not? (Score:3, Funny)

    by dboyles (65512) on Thursday October 25, 2001 @12:01PM (#2478045) Homepage
    After all, it worked for accountants [theonion.com].
  • Do slashdot readers know of any similar programs in other places?

    We have a similar program here. I believe its called MCSE. Basically people with NO tech skill whatsoever can finish the course in a few weeks - and are then qualified for a variety of jobs such as:

    - Win2000 administrator
    - Senior level IIS developer, microsoft
    - Cable monkey
    - Solitaire player
    - Dancing girl for Steve Ballmer
  • by sirgoran (221190) on Thursday October 25, 2001 @12:04PM (#2478068) Homepage Journal
    It states in the article that the kids have the option of being programmers or being helped into colleges and other programs. Any intercity program that helps lower the crime rate, murder rate, gang membership is a good thing. Helping kids help themselves into being an asset to society instead of a number in a prison is not something to take lightly.

    Everyone at some point in their life had some sort of influence that helped them along. Be it advice from a teacher, some news story or article, parent, or friend it got you where you are today. I see nothing wrong with giving these kids a different path to follow. In the end it will be up to the kid. If he/she stays the course and changes their life or fails. I'm just glad that someone is trying to help.

    Goran
  • Here in Seattle, I've worked with a similar program. This one is kind of a 'last chance' for highschoolers who are one step away from dropping out completely. These kids are chronic troublemakers/truants who've been booted from both regular highschool AND secondary school. Most of them are gangmembers, and several are teen mothers.

    What make this interesting is that the program pays these kids to come to school and learn technology. Every day, most of them show up to learn the basics of computers, web design, etc in the hopes that it'll help them get on the right track with a good job.

    For my part, I volunteered with a friend to give workshops on how to use Macromedia Flash. I was kinda nervous and didn't know what to expect--I just had this stereotype of rough gangbanger teenagers. However, they were very polite and for the most part completely intent on learning. In addition, nearly ALL of them were very bright and picked up flash far quicker than I ever did!

    Programs like the one in the posted article and the one I worked for here in Seattle are amazing opportunities to help people who just havent had the breaks in life, but have a ton to contribute. I would love to see them expanded.

    -s
  • Comedian Bobcat GOlthwaite said such criminals like gang bangers should be working in the Army, citing "These are the ones with experience!". "I'd rather have Manson out there fighting for our country than some kid who couldn't get a job at burger king"
  • Yo, luser, imma 404 yo bitchX, when I kill niggas I kill -9 'em.
  • by SethJohnson (112166) on Thursday October 25, 2001 @12:21PM (#2478177) Homepage Journal


    In
    Office Space [imdb.com], they had a guy (Michael Bolton) who was a computer programmer and always talked street and listened to gansta rap. He had a sort of pent-up hard-ass attitude, too. Like when they took that printer out into the field and kicked its ass, you could just see how he was applying experience gained through several stomp-downs he had issued in the tough city streets. Maybe he had graduated from a similar program?

    Michael Bolton: We're not going to some white collar resort prison. No, no, no! We're going to federal POUND ME IN THE ASS prison!
  • wouldn't it be better to make them Exchange/Outlook Admins?

    Seriously! It is not dissimilar to punishment to administer that crap and then people who know what they're doing won't have to touch it!
  • Go on, look it up on google... maybe it means something different in the USA to what it means here, but I thought it was funny... :)
  • One day, it's illegal extortion and con artistry (the Pigeon Drop, the Boston wad, etc)... after jail, it's legal extortion and con artistry (Venture Capital, hey,there, these shares'll be worth $500 each in a year! Buy now! Why did I sell all mine the first day? Uh....)
  • by c0rnfused (412247) on Thursday October 25, 2001 @01:12PM (#2478475) Homepage
    For starters, I am an employee at Homeboyz Interactive, the company reported in the article.

    Just wanted to clarify a few things. The students who go through the program are not simply taught how to launch Dreamweaver and click their way to a Web site. They go through about nine months of training ranging from HTML, to JavaScript, PHP, databases, data modeling, use cases, etc. We provide more skills to these students than most of my university peers seem to have! We are just starting to use Java to deal with some of our larger projects where PHP becomes a burden.

    Think again if you're worried that this is just another basic class in WYSIWYG HTML editors... you are very wrong ;)
  • I'm doing web development . . . she thinks I'm still a Crip.
  • Forget college, just join a gang, learn web design for free, and then start making mucho dinero without the hassles of a student loan, or 4 years of college... Sounds good...
  • by gnovos (447128) <{ten.deppihc} {ta} {sovong}> on Thursday October 25, 2001 @04:16PM (#2479846) Homepage Journal
    I remember very well a little event in elementary school that changed my life forever. I had grown up in private school until grade 4, but eventually I guess it was getting too expensive and I was sent into the wild world of public school for the first time starting during the fifth grade. Now, since, until this time, I was always taught to try hard, be good, and be the best person I could be, you can imagine the little hell that I found myself in that year...

    Anyway, I slowly learned the ropes, but I was still what one might call a "good kid". I didn't chew gum or talk or pass notes, instead I just tried my best to learn and not be a trouble maker. There were two girls who sat next to me, however, who were definitly not "good kids", at least by the elementary school rules of a decade or two ago. They were always laughing and talking and telling jokes, despite the teacher's constant warnings and threats to "put thier names in the book".

    Anyway, this went on for a while, and eventually the teacher had a brilliant idea. She decided that for every day that these two girls did NOT talk, they would get a coupon. If they collected a certian number of coupons at the end of two weeks, they could have a pizza party with some of thier friends after school.

    Now, for all of you thinking that this novel approach was the way to go, you are sadly mistaken. The next effect of this was that:

    a) the girls didn't shift any more towards the "good" side, but instead found better ways of concealing themselves so that they could get the coupons.

    and, most importantly, b) I learned that being "good" got you absolutely nothing at all. I was completely ignored bu this teacher. Being bad, however, gets you pizza. From that moment on I was an encouragable student...

    If you are going to start giving perks away to those who are bad, you will only be teaching people that there is no reason to stay out of trouble. If you want to go around handing out web training, start with the people who DESERVE it first.

The economy depends about as much on economists as the weather does on weather forecasters. -- Jean-Paul Kauffmann

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