For many young deportees and immigrants returning to Mexico finding a job is a hard task. Especially for those that who have spent significant amounts of time in the U.S. That difficulty is compounded when they find out the education they received in the U.S. doesn’t always transfer. Hola Code, a tech boot camp based in Mexico City, is trying to change that by giving deportees and immigrants skills and networking opportunities in the tech industry. The company got its start in 2017 and has taken advantage of the growing demand for software engineers and the enormous potential talent of youth in Mexico.
The average student at Hola Code is 18-35 years old and has been living within the U.S. for about a decade or longer.
— Holacode (@hola_holacode) January 27, 2018
Hola Code, designed after Hack Reactor, a popular coding school in San Francisco, throws students into an intensive 20-week course that trains them in tech and prepares them to be placed in high paying tech jobs. Students receive a monthly stipend while attending the training. Students also do not have to pay for the tuition until they secure a job as software engineers after graduating and are making at least 20,000 Mexican pesos a month.
Many participants in the program are former Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) beneficiaries that have either been deported or returned to Mexico.
— Holacode (@hola_holacode) May 7, 2018
Many of the students in the program are former participants of DACA, the U.S. immigration policy that protects young undocumented immigrants from deportation. Since the uncertainty that the policy would survive due to the Trump administration, young people have either been deported or returned to Mexico looking for job opportunities that they couldn’t obtain in the U.S.
Jobs are opening as a result of Mexico’s recent leaps in the tech industry.
— Hack Reactor (@HackReactor) July 12, 2018
Marcela Torres, one of the founders of Hola Code, says the young people taking on the program are finding opportunities they may have never found if they stayed in the U.S. “We were given this gift from the United States,” Torres told MarketPlace.org .”I know it’s horrible to say it that way, because I know they miss it, and they call it home. But if Mexico really took the opportunity and used their potential, it could be endless.”
The cost for students to attend Hola Code? Nothing.
"I know what your doing through is hard, it can be frustrating but the payout is incredible… With tech we can change the face of MX"- (@bismarcklepe CEO of @thewizeline ) #HackersWithoutBorders #TechInMx #CodingPaths #Inspired pic.twitter.com/Zzf8n5vjum
— Holacode (@hola_holacode) April 18, 2018
Hola Code is creating a culture of building community and ensuring the company can continue to give this life changing opportunity to others. The salary graduates receive is a life changing amount of money in a country with a struggling economy.
Students who have completed the program at Hola Code have found jobs they could never imagine.
— Marcela Torres (@marcetorresg) July 6, 2018
Eddy Barranon, who grew up in Illinois, was deported to Mexico City last year. He is a student at Hola Code who faced uncertainty when he first arrived in Mexico. After he finished the program, he became one of many students who have not only found a job in the tech industry but have found themselves.
“Now that I’m back in Mexico and actually being someone, and having a career, it’s awesome,” Barranon told CGTN America. “It’s something that I never thought I would have because of the chances I didn’t have over there in the United States.”