education social justice

Code Next Lab

Empowering Black and Latino kids with a place to learn computer science

Empowering Black and Latinx kids with STEM

Despite living a stone’s throw away from Silicon Valley, kids in Oakland are separated by a great divide. It’s a chasm created by lack of opportunity. Oakland’s youth come from primarily Black and Latino families that have been failed by social, economic, and educational systems. To help close the gap and give these kids more opportunity, Kurani partnered with Google to build the Code Next Lab.

Causes education, social justice
Partner Google
Status built
Location Oakland, USA
Press Fast Company, Getting Smart, EdSurge

Six days a week, students from local high schools come to Code Next Lab to take hands-on courses in math, science, and technology taught by Google engineers. The lab was built as a safe space that encourages them to take risks and try new things. To build their confidence and assure students that learning is a process, the lab has showcases where students get to display their work in progress.

Place-based education

By building in Oakland, the lab affirms for kids that they don’t need to leave their town for good things. Oakland can be a place of opportunity. Kids now have immediate access to world-class mentors and laser cutters, 3D printers, and equipment — right in their neighborhood.

When kids from Oakland think about Tech, who comes to mind? Probably the faces the media shows them — Musk, Zuckerberg, Gates. To assure them that they too belong, we’ve surrounded them with images and stories of influential inventors and scientists of color who look just like them and come from backgrounds just like theirs.


of students say the lab space has given them confidence to pursue a career in Computer Science & Tech

2 in 3

students say the space makes them feel they can change the world

Read more: Four years later, Google’s first Code Next class is graduating

To make computer science more relatable, we’re showing kids how it influences their lives.

A dismantled pair of Beats shows them all the bits and pieces that make up headphones. Nearby, a wall of video game controllers explains how technologists have made it possible for them to play the games they love.

To succeed in Tech, students need to get in a ‘maker mindset’. To nudge them in the right direction, the lab’s design gets them thinking about how things are made. The ceiling was removed, exposing the beams, pipes, ducts that make up the building. Sliding doors between rooms are clear, giving an x-ray into their A-frame structure. Even windows were custom made to expose their screws so kids can see how the glass is held in.

When we need a space for impacting lives, Kurani is our architect.

Errol KingGlobal Head, Google

Errol King
Global Head, Google

Ready to design your learning space?