Traci Denise Barnes is a Washingtonian who is constantly innovating her life – finding a way to use new tech skills to enrich her and, at the same time, give back to her community.
Barnes is a current student and graduate of Byte Back, a DC tech education nonprofit who has been training residents for 20 years. She is one of many students on a path to success and will apply this month for the new Pathways Scholarship, offered by the Washington DC Economic Partnership and four partners including Byte Back. The Pathways Scholarship will help people traditionally excluded from the tech sector by providing resources, web development training, career opportunities, and ongoing support.
Traci’s experience in three Byte Back classes has already started her on the right path. One year ago, she was learning to turn a computer on, and now she is inserting images into Microsoft Excel tables and taking her first IT class.
“This is a place where students can be who they are,” Traci says about Byte Back, and she brings that unique spirit back to her classes and to her community.
Thanks to her new technical skills, Traci was hired at DC Regional Addiction Prevention, Inc. (RAP), a nonprofit that serves people living with HIV/AIDS and conducts prevention and community outreach to increase the awareness of HIV/AIDS and substance abuse. She works as a House Manager part time, allowing her to continue studying at Byte Back during the day. At RAP, she escorts clients to court for pretrial, helps maintain the facilities, and uses her personal experience to connect with her clients.
Traci plans to continue innovating by expanding her tech skills and eventually launching her career in tech.