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KANSAS CITY, Mo. – A former school superintendent turned techie has launched a nonprofit aimed at exposing children from lower socioeconomic status to technology.

Dr. Philip Hickman is the founder of Learn Techquity, a program that offers free to low cost training in STEM-based fields with a heavy emphasis on technology.

“We are running across a shortage of talent, and we wanted to be a part of the solution, not the problem,” Hickman said.

He believes the current school structure isn’t always relevant to preparing young people for the future workforce.

“[Currently] the name of the game is to memorize, to regurgitate facts and to follow steps,” Hickman said. “The kids learn by doing. So really our old model of teaching is inappropriate for this generation.”

Learn Techquity takes a hands-on approach to learning and focuses on collaboration, communication, critical thinking and problem solving.

“If we don’t teach them the basics of those skills and we’re just teaching facts, then we’re going to fail our generation of children to be prepared,” Hickman said.

On Thursday, when FOX4 visited students of the program at the Nutter Ivanhoe Neighborhood Center, they were learning coding and how to build a makeshift version of Amazon’s Alexa.

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