A student in the Youth Web Design program is working on her website. (Image from the youth web design video)

Mama Sambusa Kitchen was recently saved from possible financial ruin by a student.

Through a new program offered by the Seattle Office of Economic Development and the Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle, Mama Sambusa was matched with student Lucy Richardson, who created a website for the restaurant that served the business – the one used by the COVID-19 -Pandemic has been badly hit – with a means of selling its sambusas, gyros and cheesecakes without affecting an ordering or delivery platform.

“Without this program and this beautiful site, we would have had to close,” said Honey Mohammed.

Mohammed runs the restaurant with her mother, who opened the store in West Seattle in 2009. In addition to providing the site with financial support, the project has given Muhammad’s declining morale a much-needed boost in these troubled times.

The Youth Web Design pilot recently completed its first six-week virtual training program, which was attended by 16 black students from Garfield High School. Indigenous and colored people (BIPOC) with 16 black-owned companies in the city. For participating in the project, students received graduation points, an industry-recognized certificate in website design, and a $ 750 scholarship.

Mama Sambusa Kitchen’s homepage created by Lucy Richardson, a Garfield High School student, as part of the Youth Web Design pilot program.

The idea for the program came from the Office for Economic Development.

“We have always been interested in helping small businesses survive and thriving, as well as connecting young people to our economy,” said Nancy Yamamoto, director of human resources development and key industries for the office.

As the COVID pandemic spread and the economy slowed, restaurants and retail businesses were particularly hard hit. As the world moved online, students lost internships and educational opportunities.

“We wanted to develop our own solutions to the problem, taking into account the needs of small businesses and labor training,” said Sasha Gourevitch, the office’s youth employment advisor.

The program cost the city US $ 54,000 for the pilot year and the Urban League supports the effort with donations in kind. Program directors announced that two more sessions would take place in the summer and fall, with 30 BIPOC students working with up to 60 black-owned companies. It will cost $ 56,000 for the two cohorts.

Business owners will receive tutorials on how to maintain their websites and will be able to make changes to their pages for 30 days after completion.

We wanted to develop our own solutions to the problem, taking into account the needs of small businesses and the training of workers.

The Bureau of Economic Development and the Urban League worked together to develop the curriculum, and instructors included industry experts. Her plan is to expand into other areas of technical education. Another local area is interested in accepting the program and has reached out to the City of Seattle.

The program’s supporters are confident that the effort can help promote diversity in the technology sector. Nationwide, black employees made up only 3.7% of web developers and 5.9% of designers of web and digital interfaces in 2020, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Web developers make an average of $ 73,760 per year, and the number of jobs in this role is expected to grow 8% this decade.

At an online event last month celebrating the work of the first cohort, senior Garfield senior Brianna Smith shared her thoughts. Smith, who created a website for Agelgil Ethiopian restaurant in the Central District, appreciated the opportunity to get hands-on experience to see if she really enjoyed working in tech before college.

“Because of this program, it really helped me realize that computer science is 100% to me, and I’m really grateful for it,” said Smith.

Here is a list of the other companies and their websites created by the project: