Treehouse, a learn-to-code-online company, is putting its platform where its mouth is and taking on one of America’s toughest towns, economically speaking: Detroit.

The startup is embarking on a mission to teach 22 ninth-grade students in Detroit how to code. They’ll learn about development for the web and for mobile devices — skills that could potentially change their lives, putting them on a path to high-dollar careers or even entrepreneurship.

Right now, these students are at Jalen Rose Leadership Academy, a Detroit charter school. They’ve been identified as underserved and at-risk by a high-school enrichment program called FATE. FATE’s mission is to get these kids to “embrace education and become world-class citizens,” ideally by exposing them to higher-education opportunities, as well.


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Jalen Rose, a year-old institution located in the northwest part of Detroit, where high school diplomas are not the norm in many students’ families and social spheres. Currently, only 32 percent of Detroit high school students graduate in four years.

In a recent conversation with Treehouse founder and web guru Ryan Carson, we learned that Carson sees Treehouse (and coding education in general) as a world-changing stepping stone for underserved kids who can’t afford to go to college.

Treehouse’s platform brings adults and minors alike affordable access to easy-to-follow instruction on the newest technologies shaping our digital economy — an economy in which any motivated person should be able to participate, Carson says.

“Treehouse is very excited to be working with Detroit’s FATE,” he said in a statement on today’s news. “The possibility of helping some of Detroit’s brightest high school students learn skills that can change the world is amazing. Treehouse hopes to continue this partnership for years to come.”

Treehouse’s curriculum includes videos as well as a new line of books, and it teaches learners practical skills like WordPress and jQuery, with a focus on building functional, real-world applications.

FATE is a four-year enrichment program for at-risk youth. It is run by Merit, a fashion-for-a-good-cause organization focused on bringing higher education to high school students who might not otherwise have the opportunity.

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