Raising Up the Next Generation of Leaders in Tech

Workforce development is one of TechBridge’s four pillars, and one of the main ways we work in this area is through our Technology Career Program (TCP). On today’s episode, we get to talk with Joseph Perry, who was a part of the first class of TCP and now works at TechBridge, mentoring students.

Stay tuned for an inspiring conversation that walks through what TCP is all about and the impact that Joseph is making daily on the younger generation.


Joseph Perry [00:00:00]

I was working at a warehouse. So I'm working on a warehouse is he ain't quick money coming in on the money, but I needed like a stable job. So my mom worked for Coca-Cola. And she heard about the TechBridge program and like the inaugural class, the first class we had. So I got involved with that class, my first time ever doing anything tech wise, I was always hands on with computers. But other than that, that kind of take, I was, it was new.

Adam Walker [00:00:34]

Workforce development is one of TechBridge's four pillars. And one of the main ways that we work in this area is through our TCP program. On Techbridge talks today, we get to have a conversation with Joseph Perry who was a part of the first class of TCP, and now works at TechBridge mentoring students. Stay tuned for an inspiring conversation that walks through what TCP is about and the impact Joseph's making daily on the younger generation. Joining me on the show today is Joseph Perry. Joseph, welcome to the show!

Joseph Perry [00:01:13]

Thank you. Thank you for having me. I don't thank you for having me, man.

Adam Walker [00:01:16]

I’m excited to talk to you. I know you've got a lot of background with TechBridge and you got on your Techbridge shirt and you're doing a lot of work. I mean, you're working for TechBridge now, so let's just kind of start at the beginning.

Um, how did you get started with TCP and kind of give me, give me kind of that. Okay.

Joseph Perry [00:01:34]

How I got started was I was working at a warehouse, so I'm working on a warehouse as he ain't quick money and winning all the money, but I needed like a stable job. Some of mine were for Coca Cola. And see how to buy the site race program and like the inaugural class, the first class we had.

So I got involved with that class. So I went there, went to the orientation, sat through the program, gained some skill advancement knowledge along those lines. And then I think Andre saw. I was there early, helping out, always there, late cleaning up too as well. So Andreas had pulled me aside like, well, what'd you get that from?

And, um, growing up, I was always around older people. So being only my grandma and grandparents and all of that, it's just. You'd like to help people naturally. So that's what Andre saw in me. And I certain brought him. He interviewed me actually master brought me on to take, whereas from there.

Adam Walker [00:02:26]

Oh, wow. Okay.

That's great. So, so talk about, talk about your TCP experience, then dive a little deeper into that. So you were in the first class and in what it, like, what did you learn in that class? Like what are, what are the kinds of your specialties and that, and how was that experience? Walk me through that. Let's see

Joseph Perry [00:02:43]

ISA, what we learned three years ago.

Most long time. Uh, I would say we learned Salesforce. We also learned web development. Got it. All right. Um, I got to send her son certificate and what development for ACU, but Salesforce is probably the hardest, the hardest thing ever to do out of a class of 20. I think 25 graduating. I started with 30 plus, but 25 graduating.

We had about seven, seven or eight, get their act to assess what certifications, but I'm thinking maybe 10 cent. It was also got our own development as well. So with that, that was probably the hardest, my first time ever doing anything tech wise, I was always hands-on with computers, but by the internet, that kind of take, I was, it was new to us.

Adam Walker [00:03:34]

All right. And, and it was a, it was a 16 week sort of intensive course. I mean, how, how was that? Did you have to like, you know, live and breathe the course for a time? Or what was.

Joseph Perry [00:03:45]

Um, I always say for the 16 weeks, I actually transitioned to another job because I'm out. When I let me do it, someone stepped down was I'm able to owns the auto shop.

He let me work for him from there on it's a be in the classroom, but bringing in class from five to eight in the afternoon to 16, when he was like you said, and also some Saturdays, it was no issue for me as the Saturday, probably the hardest getting up. Cause I lived like an hour away from downtown. I live in care.

So driving from there to downtown. So I'll the hardest part, but throughout the class, I would say we had great instructors. I don't know. I started to change previously. And then also our classroom manager, also the staff from segway as TCP, Fergus, there, they were great. They were always in their own Saturday.

Even anyone there for a long, they stopped by and saw us give us pep talks. And we also had a lot of people come in and give us good words of advice, because this is, this is new to us. So a lot of kids we had, like, I would say two from high school, the rest of them were adults. So it was like a mixed class from different whole different backgrounds.

Adam Walker [00:04:51]

Alright. And so this was, this was three years ago. And then you mentioned kind of as a part of your story that. You know, one of your, one of your passions or one of your work ethics that you want to help people. So you were at this, this was, you know, you had physical classes at this time, so you were there early, you stayed late helping clean it up.

And that, that sort of caught notice of the, of the leadership. Tell me, like, like, walk me more through that. Where did that.

Joseph Perry [00:05:15]

Uh, would that lead to, for me getting hired was the TCP. Um, I forgot the title cause I haven't been there for so long TCP program manager or Shelby desk for us now. Um, I work that portion of it working with adults, but then also for about two and a half years.

So Shelby came on, but then I went to the kids because I know the, I promise center. Uh, outside of the outside of work and he knows me as well too. So we kind of like, Hey, we need to take bridge here. Do you want to work with our kids? And I'm like me being so young on twenty-five, I'm the kind of relatable to them.

So me being, being another TCP at promise center, and then also a TCP manager as well too, those were two great positions that I've learned a lot.

Adam Walker [00:06:01]

We'll talk more about your work at the app promise center. So you're, you're doing TCP students at the app promise center. Tell me all about that. Like, as if I don't know anything about it, like give me from the ground up.

Tell me all about, sorry. I

Joseph Perry [00:06:13]

promise center is kind of, um, located in an area called the Bluff. The Bluff is kind of right behind Mercedes-Benz stadium, but it's not the best neighborhood. There's a lot of, a lot of things going on. A lot of kids doing young things at an early age, not supposed to ever. So the kid it's a center right there called at seven 40 Alexander Boulevard called the I promise center.

But the center is at bat version center for at-risk kids. So a lot of kids that need to come there, a lot of kids are referred there, cause some of them have court dates and they need to learn something and be in good graces and good spirits before they go to court to have something a good, um, good people around are starting to change their environment.

A lot of cases there, um, get too personal with me. Sometimes I can say it. It taught me a lot of things. I don't want. But it's all because they trust you. Um, along with the kids, are you be fine with them? But, um, our first year there, we tried to teach the kids, coding the coding, where they was, it was not fun for us, for them, for us, because a lot of them just walked out of class.

Didn't want to do it. Then I also have a second go around for, it was the students. We had certain students talk to us about six come after school, after hours directly to us. And a lot of the kids didn't like it because it's like, why are your other kids come into our center? But not even from around.

Also then the pandemic hit. Then we also learned during the pandemic, a lot of the kids, you have to start within instead of branching out to bring people in and to start within. So during, I would say August 20, 20, that's when school started. For the or rights or learning. So we're there. We were stationed there for, with segues as a site coordinator.

I was there helping the kids out, assisting them with their online lessons, classroom, homework, IPS there's any help with. Cause my favorite subject is history. So a center had cemeteries we had, um, and it's antiquated technical issues. As you know, tech where it's technology, they always come to us for any technical issue is at the center.

But with that at the virtual learning was over, I would say about from eight to three, they had school. I did an afterschool program and started with us. We taught the kids in the numerous things, cyber security. Um, that was security. I wrote it down in my apologies. Forensic science. Um, also professional development, like time management, professional image, um, programming, many scoreboards as well too.

And then also this bald accounts basically taught the kids how to present themselves professionally, because a lot of kids don't have that environment around them because it's a bad environment. You go, you go down a block and you see kids hanging out when it wants to be in school and hanging out with adults doing things.

And that's what. That's the center vibe, but inside the center, it's a lot of fun. They have a boys and girls club there, they have urban league and they also have raising expectations and also tag words, that's to help the kids in the community starts fresh and a better environment, and also help them plan for later in life.

Instead of getting money, like learning what's happening now.

Adam Walker [00:09:16]

Okay. And so you spend most of your time then at, at the at promise center and working with those kids. Is that right?

Joseph Perry [00:09:22]

Yes, sir. I would say from nine to five, I'm basically there helping them out with their score lessons, artists, talk, talk to them about what they want to do in life.

Adam Walker [00:09:32]

Yeah, that's fantastic. Do you, are there any, uh, in maybe not using the, any, any in particular person's name, but are there any stories that you'd like to share with us about, you know, just some impact you've made or

Joseph Perry [00:09:43]

some, some conversations you've had? I would say there were two boys at the center. Um, I don't wanna say their names, but two was in the center.

We had a recently a lot of them, their mom sewed hair on the side and they're bad. So illegal thing. So with them, they will learn raising basically how to hustle anything. They get their hands on most, all reasoning to start. We have with them. A lot of them didn't even know how to use Excel, PowerPoint, or a word.

So recently when we deal with that, it was so it gets how to create a business because we had, as we did as the iPhone repair lab. And you got to think about alpha and repair all these kids on the iPhone now. So we taught the kids how to also manage their money with Excel, but also manage their money with hands-on replacement tools.

So I'd gifted, I would say three to four students. Hands-on iPhone repair kits, just to make sure they actually earn some safe money. Cause you, you go to Allentown and you see a lot of kids on the side of the road. You hear the news selling water, but that's as a risk money because you don't know who you meet and you don't know what's going on.

So what I spoke with, um, the kids about like, this is going to be a way to earn safe. You can order the product. You can order the product for cheap, a bunch for cheap up your prices, depending on what kind of phone it is. So with kids, we taught them how to do that. And then a lot of them picked up on it, very Fastly and started running with that.

Cause a lot of them wouldn't prepare their own phones. You don't have the product yet to repair your phone, but I like, I like your, I like your spunk basically. So your kids.

Adam Walker [00:11:15]

Gotcha, man. That's great. Okay. So you're teaching them, uh, it sounds like a valuable skill and even the differences between safe money and risk money.

That's great. That's really great. Okay. Wow. Um, well, I mean, so, uh, any other, any other aspects of your work in the app promise center or TCP or tech braids he'd sort of like to share and talk through?

Joseph Perry [00:11:34]

Um, I will say I'm looking at my notes on our things down to some mixture. We have a lot to talk about. Uh, I would say fashionable technology.

Adam Walker [00:11:45]

Oh, what did, what do you define as fashionable technology? Um,

Joseph Perry [00:11:50]

or we learn with, or we taught the kids actually as the kids, we taught them how to like, put like lights in your clothes. And that makes sense. So a lot of them created hats in the past that had about. A few connections to it. And we also had a battery pack to show him how to, just to get them started with that.

Because a lot of them like to design things, doesn't have their own things. They made themselves, we showed a few kids how to do that. And I would say, Young ladies are dominating the game and bash cause a lot of the boys is that what they wanted to do, but the girls actually took the time to make their artwork actually, grace.

And I always say what the girls have been sending. It's kind of hard for them to get in touch with, uh, uh, me as a male teacher, because a lot of them would be like, don't trust me. I was in her life. But with them coming to my class every day, asking me. Hey, Mr. Dosa, what are we doing today? Are we still doing a hat?

So what are we doing? What's fashion. What are we doing with all of these technology? But with them doing that, actually, it was kind of a breakthrough for TechBridge. And a lot of, a lot of them actually wanted to come back with this to learn things as well, too. And also I'll tell you over the summer, we recently had a reconstruction cooking class.

So the center has a big kitchen in there. So a lot of the kids didn't know each other from the summer. It was a new one, like a new cabinet. Kids knew everything at the center. We taught the kids how to cook a lot of them. Oh, I know how to cook. I know how to cook. You put them on the stove. They don't know how to cook anything.

A defining thing I can say as a kid was cooking, baking without.

He was just sit in there, waiting on the bacon to cook, no grease popping. None of that. He didn't even smell the bacon, but I would say without them not knowing each other or knowing their reconstruction instructor, they made it kind of a great connection. Cause I'm struck there. We have with via zoom in New Jersey, but she was also relatable because he was also young herself and she also was a person of color because a lot of the kids, I always say there's a.

I would say like 99.9% African. So a lot of the kids, I can see themselves within people that teach us. So with anasarca there being that a person of color, the students enjoyed it. And I also was a lady whatsoever as well too. And she was also a lady, um, of, I think, Nicaraguan. And a lot of the kids asked us to speak Spanish.

He spoke Spanish to him. A lot of kids is like, oh, how do you say this? Okay. Okay. Okay. But he taught us about the African-American African-American history behind different foods, cultures. That's why so prominent with us and our people. Oh, that's

Adam Walker [00:14:31]

cool. Okay, man. That's fantastic. Well, uh, sir, are there any sort of final things you'd like for listeners to know about.

TCP or TechBridge or the app promise center or anything like that? Um,

Joseph Perry [00:14:46]

our listeners, we are gearing up for new classes because our classes, we are making people, making people have. And I'm not saying that's making a change in people's lives because it changed my life. Working from getting up at 6:00 AM, leaving work at 6:00 AM on my feet all day 30 minutes for lunch type environment to a stable environment, I can actually grow talking to you.

Adam talks at different people on a daily basis just to get different environment, a different culture around myself, bringing me out this. Save mode when I was in a warehouse as though I'm going to work and going home. And that was all I did. But now I'm going out into the world and seeing things, how things are, how environments are different.

That was pretty great for the TCP program adult program for me to learn as well too. So no program or wrapping up a lot of things, but also for summer pro or not the summer for our fall programming for the. We are doing a lot of reconstruction programming, cooking. Again, we're going to be doing cooking.

I'm going to do a book club. We want to do, um, African-American history stories, a lot of things that kids chose to do. So if you want to get your kid involved with that promise center does want to south and west, but also I think we're kind of doing virtual out of state TCP adult classes as well too, but don't be afraid to get involved with us because we do have stem at home kits for your students, for their kids as well.

Hmm. So not the are all over the place, but when I started from Atlanta,

Adam Walker [00:16:17] sounds like there's some, some great stuff happening, man. Well, Joseph, I mean, I really appreciate and admire the work that you're doing with students. You know, some of the most valuable work you'll ever do is with students. So thanks for taking your time to do that, man.

It's really, really meaningful. Thank you for listening to Techbridge talks a podcast about breaking the cycle of generational poverty through the innovative use of techniques. This podcast is produced by TechBridge to find out more about our work and how you can be a part visit TechBridge.org that's TechBridge.org.

Also make sure to follow us on social media. Thanks again for listening and tune in next week for more great content.