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Groundbreaking program helping NYC youth land IT jobs

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BUSHWICK, Brooklyn — Inside a classroom is not exactly how most teens would choose to spend the summer, but this special class has their eye on the ball.

The group is part of Techie Youth – one of 10,000 worksites part of New York City’s Summer Youth Employment program that teaches young people the in’s and out's of computers, skills that’ll eventually help them land a job in IT.

These students have dealt with a wide range of difficult circumstances whether it be a criminal background, foster care or homelessness.

Their common goal is to defy the odds.

“This is a life saving endeavor without our services they pretty much – statistically – are more likely to become homeless or incarcerated,” Founder and President of Technie Youth Eric David Benari told PIX11 News. “In our program every last student succeeds - that’s the key.”

For 17-year-old Moesha Cedeno who was recently incarcerated, the program is giving her a second chance toward a better life.

“It’s not just the streets that is able to make you a lot of money,” she explained. “Working with computers is actually a valuable and fast way and legal way to make money.“

Estafano Riojas, an instructor with the program says he motivates the students by telling them about the so-called ’55 Club.”

“I inform everyone of my students that we are paying over $55,000 a year to imprison one inmate. What if we put a few dollars into training people to earn $55,000?” he said.

“Instead of now being behind the 55, all my students know they have the skills to move forward from the 55. “

The unique groundbreaking approach is dramatically changing lives that would otherwise be just another statistic.

To get more information on Techie Youth – visit their website.