Students Volunteers Partners FAQ To NYC School Gentech LLC

Students, Volunteers and Partners Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) To NYC School Gentech LLC


Is the program free?

The program is free to all participants.

How did GenTech get started? Who are NYCEDC and NFTE?

GenTech is an initiative of the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) and the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) and is a part of New York City’s efforts to foster local technology and entrepreneurship talent.

About NYCEDC: New York City Economic Development Corporation is the City’s primary vehicle for promoting economic growth in each of the five boroughs. NYCEDC’s mission is to stimulate growth through expansion and redevelopment programs that encourage investment, generate prosperity and strengthen the City’s competitive position. NYCEDC serves as an advocate to the business community by building relationships with companies that allow them to take advantage of New York City’s many opportunities. Find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, or visit our blog to learn more about NYCEDC projects and initiatives.

About NFTE: The Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship’s mission is to provide programs that inspire young people from low-income communities to stay in school, to recognize business opportunities and to plan for successful futures. Founded in New York City in 1987 by Steve Mariotti, a former entrepreneur turned high school math teacher in the South Bronx, NFTE began as a program to prevent dropouts and improve academic performance among students who were at risk of failing or quitting school. Combining his business background with his desire to teach at-risk students, Steve discovered that when young people from low-income communities are given the opportunity to learn about entrepreneurship, their innate “street smarts” can easily develop into “academic smarts” and “business smarts.” Through entrepreneurship, young people discover that what they are learning in the classroom is relevant to the real world. To date, NFTE has worked with nearly 450,000 young people from low-income communities in programs across the U.S. and around the world. Visit for more information.

For Students

What are you looking for in a student?

GenTech seeks students who demonstrate leadership abilities in school, enjoy working on challenging problems in a team setting, and, most importantly, are interested in technology and entrepreneurship.

How do I apply to participate in GenTech?

Application instructions and a downloadable application can be found on the “Prospective Students” page .

Why is the program only open to students eligible for free and reduced lunch or students from schools with more than 50% free and reduced lunch rates?

NFTE’s mission is to provide programs that inspire young people from low-income communities to stay in school, to recognize business opportunities and to plan for successful futures. In order to stay “on mission,” NFTE’s programs only serve students from schools with a free or reduced lunch rate over 50% or with students who qualify for free and reduced lunch.

Do I need prior knowledge of the program’s topics to be eligible to participate?

In order to participate, students must have familiarity with Microsoft Word and PowerPoint and be capable of performing basic online tasks such as emailing. However, students do not need to have a background in any of the more complex programs GenTech utilizes such as Baslamiq wireframing software or coding. If you are unsure or have any questions, feel free to contact us.

What tech tools will I receive to ensure that I’m successful in the program?

GenTech students will receive the following tools to be used only during the duration of the program:

Laptops loaded with Microsoft Office, Photoshop, Balsamiq wireframing software, and an aircard subscription for mobile Wi-Fi
An Android phone with photography and video recording ability
Are students allowed to keep the laptop and mobile after they complete the program?

GenTech relies on financial and in-kind support from its partners to acquire these tools. In order to ensure the sustainability of the program, students must return their laptops and phones so that they can be reused by future GenTech cohorts. All equipment must be returned to NFTE at the completion of the program in excellent condition.

Does GenTech pay for voice and data plans for the program’s Android mobile phones?

The Android phones loaned to students are to be used to upload and test their mobile apps as they are being built. They will not have voice and data plans.

Should students who are more familiar with coding or computer science apply?

Students who have past experience in coding are encouraged to apply. GenTech focuses on a wide swath of tech-related topics, as well as entrepreneurship, so students with coding experience will find the program’s content to be new and engaging.

It sounds like a significant commitment. What will I gain from the program?

Where to start…Students participating in GenTech will acquire a repertoire of tech and entrepreneurial skills and content knowledge, they’ll have access to a wide network of important players in NYC’s tech startup scene, they’ll build mentor-mentee relationships with current college students and professionals working in the tech sector, and they’ll have the opportunity to compete for seed capital at the Demo Night. This isn’t to mention that they’ll be privy to field trips and meetings in some of the City’s most prominent tech companies and a whole host of other opportunities that present themselves simply as a result of participating in the program. Also, most importantly, students interested in technology will have the opportunity to engage in challenging work and become an active member of the City’s tech ecosystem.

Will there be transportation or food provided?

GenTech will provide students with MetroCards to travel to and from the program’s sessions. GenTech will also provide breakfast and lunch to students during the summer bootcamp and full-day follow up session, and snacks during all mentoring sessions.

Who are the instructors?

GenTech will be taught by NFTE staff members and NFTE Certified Entrepreneurship Teachers. Additionally, professionals from the tech sector will sometimes serve as guest instructors.

What is the time commitment for homework or other assignments that are outside of classroom time?

During the summer bootcamp, students can expect 1-2 hours of homework per night. This work includes reading for the next day’s class, performing market research, blogging, and honing skills related to Balsamiq and Photoshop software, and working on coding exercises. After the bootcamp, students will have approximately 20-30 hours of independent work per week, depending upon their responsibilities within their group. This homework includes continuing to develop coding skills, getting feedback on different iterations of your team’s mobile app, writing an abbreviated business plan based on your app, and creating a pitch presentation for Demo Night.

For Volunteers
How do I apply to participate in GenTech ?
Information on volunteering with GenTech is located on our “Potential Partners” page. All volunteers must first register as a volunteer through NFTE by completing a short form found here.
If you are interested in becoming a guest speaker,
If you are interested in becoming a Teaching Assistant,
If you are interested in becoming a Tech Mentor, send your resume and a short message expressing your intent
What is the time commitment for each volunteer roles?
Guest Speakers: 1 hour (July 8-12, 15-19 choose one day; 12:30pm– 1:30pm)
Teaching Assistants: 85 hours (July 8-12, 15-19; 9:00am– 5:30pm)
Tech Mentors: 36 hours (July 23, 25, 30; Aug 1, 6, 8, 13, 15, 20, 22, 27, 29; 5:30pm-8:30pm)
Are Teaching Assistants or Tech Mentors compensated for their time?

Teaching Assistants and Tech Mentors are volunteers who are not compensated for their time. You get the satisfaction of helping a great group of students, you get exposure to our programming and guest speakers, and you get to be part of the GenTech network.

Do I need to be an expert at using programs like Balsamiq and Photoshop to be a Teaching Assistant or Tech Mentor?

While you don’t have to be an expert at using any of the programs mentioned above, a basic knowledge of each is required so that you are able to assist students when they encounter technical challenges. A cursory training on all of these programs will be provided to TAs and Tech Mentors accepted into the program.

Do I need to know how to code HTML, CSS, and JavaScript to be a Teaching Assistant or Tech Mentor?

If you are applying to be a Teaching Assistant, you must be proficient in all three languages. Potential Teaching Assistants that do not yet know how to code these languages, may be accepted to the program on the condition that they develop these competencies by the end of June. If a conditionally accepted applicant is unable to attain these skills by the end of June, his or her acceptance as a volunteer will be revoked. If you are applying to be a Tech Mentor and have experience in business development or IT, you are not required to know how to code HTML, CSS, or JavaScript, though it is encouraged.

Do you provide summer housing for Teaching Assistants?

GenTech does not provide Teaching Assistants with housing or transportation. Teaching Assistants are responsible for their own lodging and travel arrangements. Teaching Assistants who attend universities in NYC are preferred.

For Partners

What can my company do to help support GenTech ?

Organizations can support GenTech in a number of ways, described here. If you are a tech company in NYC and you’re interested in being involved

Potential Partners

One of GenTech’s primary goals is to connect high school students with the local tech community. Our partner companies provide students with valuable learning experiences including mentorship from tech professionals, hands-on work with the latest technology, and field trips that expose students to different tech environments.

GenTech invites organizations to support the program in a number of ways:

Providing a Guest Speaker during the Summer Tech-Bootcamp or Fall Sessions
Providing a team of dedicated Tech Mentors to work with a student team on their app and business plan
Hosting twice-weekly evening work session at your company’s offices (approx. 50-80 people). Email us at [email protected] for more information
Providing event space for the end of program semi-finals or final Demo Night.
Donating equipment, such as laptops, Android mobile phones for students to develop and test apps, old desktop towers for students to take apart, Internet aircards, just to name a few.

Providing any level of financial support or prizes to offset program costs
If your company is interested in learning more about GenTech and how you can directly help NYC’s next generation of tech-entrepreneurs, please email Jordan Runge, Program Director.

GenTech would like to thank all of its partners that made this program possible through their generous support.