Founded in 2012 by five African American males, the Hidden Genius Project trains young African American males to enter their local tech economy. Based in Oakland, The Hidden Genius Project, offers mentorship, entrepreneurship and leadership skills to underserved and underrepresented Black high school students in a project-focused, student-centered environment. The organization offers two programs to participants - a fifteen month immersion program that includes computer science, entrepreneurship, problem-solving, and leadership training for African American male high school students. The other program is offered to young men of color in the form of single and multi-day workshops in computer science. Both of these programs are free and do not require any previous programming skills or knowledge, only an interest in technology, a passion for entrepreneurship, and a desire to transform oneself and his community.
The Hidden Genius is the project of entrepreneurs and technologists, Brandon Nicholson, Jason Young, Tracy "Ty" Moore, II, Kilimanjaro Robbs, Isaak Hayes, and Kurt Collins and four others. These individuals recognized a need that was not being filled in the tech-friendly Bay Area: diversity in tech. The founding members responded to this need an sourced the well-stocked pool of Oakland to help answer this need to diversify the industry. Founders of the Hidden Genius Project were quick to recognize that while the Bay Area, Oakland specifically was quickly becoming home to start-ups and more established tech giants like Pandora and Ask.com, African American residents were not being included in this boom. The Hidden Genius Project works to identify and train African American tech leaders of tomorrow by giving them the training and opportunities today. This is done through a rigorous and dedicated fifteen month training program that lasts for two years.
While there is also the option for young men to partake in single and multi-day workshops, individuals who participate in the two year training graduate with a host of skills, real-time job experience, and impressive portfolio. Students work with Bay Area tech giants during their training, too. The students at The Hidden Genius Project are well-positioned for employment in the Bay Area tech community and, or further education and development.