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Thursday, February 2, 2023

Programming a Better Future For The Next Generation of Latin America – The Sociable

Latin America (LatAm) is a region that has witnessed profound change over the last year and a half. Finally catching up with other more developed areas of the world, LatAm’s technology sector had a hallmark year in 2021 and is expected to grow tenfold in the next decade. What is more, eCommerce grew more in LatAm than in any other region of the world, totaling in at an estimated $80B and expected to double by 2025
However, with growth comes growing pains, and although this progression is much welcome in LatAm, it is important to not put the cart before the horse. The region has had to evolve industry to include technology in half the time as other areas of the world and much of its infrastructure is lacking for this advancement.
For LatAm to sustain this newly fastened technological scope, it needs to ensure that it provides the resources needed to hold it up. This includes both infrastructures as well as education so that the people of the region can implement it into their lives accurately and sustainably.
Mexican last mile logistics platform Cargamos is noteworthy for helping answer this call to action with its recent launch of the Educa initiative: a free programming boot camp that helps to train young people and adults in the development of applications and digital solutions. Let’s take a look at how the program is providing the tools that the region needs to continue its push toward digitalization.

Although mobile penetration in LatAm is incredibly far-reaching, other technology evolutions aren’t quite keeping pace and many people lack digital know-how. This makes for increasing disparities in the business economy and a widening gap of poverty with the populace as technology quickly becomes a prerequisite for access to a better life.
Cargamos’ Educa program is aimed at providing a solution for this by offering more equal opportunity in the tech sphere for the people of LatAm. 
Their programming “boot camp” is in collaboration with Silabuz.com, an online education platform, and the Focolare Movement, a foundation that works to catalyze unity worldwide. The course is currently in Mexico and Guatemala, and the overall aim of the program is to train young people and adults in the most relevant digital training for the technological era that is 2022. 
For every 20 adults who take the boot camp, the initiative also awards a scholarship to 20 children so that they can continue with their studies.
Participants receive everything they need to complete their learning online. Silabuz provides the online digital learning platform and The Focolare Movement supplies the physical school classrooms, required equipment, and a tutor savvy to basic computer needs. 
Students’ education includes how to create web pages, eCommerce and web applications, and many other high-complexity technological skills that are in high demand in the global market. The ultimate goal is for students to develop innovative projects where they apply everything they have learned—manifesting their own capstone portfolio of work. This instills confidence in their capabilities, giving students trust in themselves to think quickly on their feet and feel prepared to enter the ever-evolving tech industry.
Overall the program is geared at improving adults’ skill sets who are in existing roles in the job market, helping them to provide themselves a better future, all while simultaneously educating the next generation. There are no contingencies for those that want to apply, and no prior knowledge is required. 
For many other places throughout the world, digitization is probably old news. LatAm’s tech sector is witnessing extreme acceleration, however, and is expected to grow tenfold in the next decade. In Mexico alone, a survey of 500 companies in the country revealed that approximately 65% are looking for talent in careers related to technology.
By fostering the talents of both youth and adults alike in Mexico and Guatemala, Cargamos’ Educa program is helping developing societies in LatAm to keep up with the evolving digital world. 
If you want to bolster your own skillset in the world of programming while also helping a young person in need get their chance in the fast-paced technology industry, check out Cargamos’ official website to get involved with the Educa program.
Disclosure: This article mentions a client of an Espacio portfolio company.

We explore how our brains, psychology, and society are impacted by the ever-evolving technology that surrounds us. If you want to be better prepared for the new information age, have a healthier relationship with technology, and get more out of life using top technology and psychology hacks, this is the podcast for you! Every other Friday we bring you interviews with leading experts in the fields of technology and psychology combined, with past guest speakers such as New York Times journalists, MIT Professors, and C-suite executives of top tech companies.
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It may come as no surprise that many are still feeling the psychological impact of the pandemic. And, as mental health becomes less stigmatized, a new wave of apps and companies, such as BetterHelp and Talkspace, have flooded this space, offering more affordable and convenient mental health services.
However, while this new wave of attention on mental health is good for society, the interest from VCs looking to turn this attention into profit could in fact be disastrous for the industry.
To discuss this new “Uberfication of Therapy” we are joined by William Schroeder, Co-Owner and Counselor at Just Mind, a boutique mental health clinic based in Austin, Texas.
Schroeder explains how these large tech companies promise mental health specialists the ability to turn on an app and be given as many clients as they can take with the promise of good earnings. However, much like Uber, these big payday promises have fallen flat. Especially when these companies gain market share, they reduce the worker’s wages or introduce subscription costs that claw back the profits of the individual.
Schroeder also shares what he believes needs to be done in order to provide better, more affordable mental health services to the wider population. In response to this question, Schroeder explains the rollout of 988, an emergency number that will release crisis teams all across the country, so when people are in a mental health crisis, whatever it might be, they can call this number.
He also goes into detail about how student loan forgiveness could stand to be a method for attracting more workers to the mental health field. And finally, Schroeder explains how apps can be a useful tool in the battle for better mental health services.
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