Mission Techies Take a Shine to FiveStars’ Support

BlogLast Thursday, a packed room of proud family, friends, partner agencies and MEDA staff joined to celebrate the graduation of the summer 2016 cohort of Mission Techies. The Mission Techies program – part of MEDA’s free Workforce Development – teaches IT essentials of hardware, software, networking and coding.

Attendees also celebrated an innovative social enterprise model in the Mission.

As Mission Techies participants learn IT skills, they then refurbish low-income Mission residents’ computers, at no cost. Also, this current cohort of 13 Mission Techies paid it forward by creating WordPress websites for six community-serving businesses in the Mission. A number of these businesses went through MEDA’s Business Development program, which includes a seven-session workshop followed by one-on-one coaching. It’s called service integration.

During the course, the Mission Techies also visit tech companies throughout the Bay Area.

Explains Technology Training Coordinator Leo Sosa, “We appreciate that many tech companies set time aside in their busy schedules to give the Mission Techies a tour. This is a big deal to our clients, who are from habitually underresourced communities. The Mission Techies program is creating a pipeline for diversity in tech.”

One tech company that played a starring role this summer was FiveStars, where the trainees took part in a “Wipe Out” event. That translated to wiping out the hard drives for over 200 laptops and 500 tablets — in just one day. FiveStars’ mission is to generate customer-loyalty programs for small businesses. In just three years, the company has gone from two guys in a garage to now serving thousands of small businesses across the country.

At the “Wipe Out” event, Five Stars’ IT team said that they would later decide which devices to repurpose and which to donate.

The exciting news is that at the graduation ceremony, FiveStars CEO and Co-Founder Victor Ho announced an In-kind donation of 80 laptops and 150 tablets for Mission Techies from the current cohort and those past. This is much needed, as many Mission Techies lack a computing device in their home.

Ho also lent some inspiration to Mission Techies, as the keynote speaker at the graduation.

“These young men and women of Mission Techies have worked so hard to actively changed the trajectory of their future, and it was a high privilege to be a part of their graduation. I know they will accomplish great things as they pursue their passion and career, and I look forward to FiveStars engaging with Mission Techies to support them in the road ahead,” states Ho.

What’s in store for the Mission Techies now that they have graduated?

There are four main pathways, as showcased below.

Ready for that IT job

  • Oscar Chan is interviewing for a tech support position with the Mayor’s office.
  • Jette Hernandez is searching for a product manager/product marketing job.
  • William Lopez is Interviewing at Comcast, plus for field technician positions.
  • Liova Marcelos is poised to work at a nonprofit, using newfound technology skills to better the community.
  • Sarah Sojo wants to become a hardware engineer.

Future coding training

  • Esmeralda Martinez has been accepted into Hackbright Academy, an engineering school for women with a mission to increase female representation in tech through education, mentorship and community.

Back to school

  • Lamar Anderson is heading back to Skyline College this fall, but is changing his major so that he can become an IT manager upon graduation.
  • Briseida Gonzalez is heading back to Mission High School, but now knows she wants a career in tech.
  • Cienna Gray has decided to change her major to computer engineering at Barnard College of Columbia University in New York City.
  • Joze Inocente will be a freshman at City College, studying tech programming.
  • Samantha Santos is switching her major to computer science and longs to be a software engineer.
  • Joseestevan Villalobos is heading back to City College and is pondering where in the tech world he wants to land.


  • Pablo Barrera has been accepted to YearUp, which seeks to close the opportunity divide.

The future’s looking bright for the Mission Techies, thanks to a powerful curriculum and the help of community partners such as FiveStars.

Thanks to all who are making the Mission Techies program a success … and who are changing young lives every day.

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