History & Accomplishments

Barbara Altman and Glenn Stein revisit Byte Back in 2016.

Byte Back was founded in 1997 by Glenn Stein, a computer professional, along with Barbara Altman, who gave the support and vision to change lives in Washington, DC.

Closing the digital divide through IT training for low-income residents gave people hope and opened doors to living-wage jobs. As Byte Back’s first co-directors, they affected change from the beginning. Since that time, Byte Back has provided hands-on computer training with the help of volunteer computer professionals.

Byte Back has served thousands of economically disadvantaged students, helping them acquire marketable skills and obtain meaningful employment. Here are a few of the highlights:

    • Shortly after its founding, Byte Back gained a building that was to be used as its headquarters and classrooms, located in the heart of the Brookland neighborhood
    • Between 2008 and 2015, under the leadership of former Executive Director Kelley Ellsworth, Byte Back grew nearly 10-fold in funding, number of course sites, number of students, and staff.
    • Became a licensed post-secondary educational institution.
    • Featured as “One of the Best” nonprofits in the Catalogue for Philanthropy in 2010-11, 2014-15, and 2018-19.
    • Was a two-time finalist for the Washington Post Award for Excellence in Nonprofit Management.
    • Became a certified Microsoft Testing Center
AC Group Crop

Some of the 2014-2015 Serve DC AmeriCorps cohort, who served as digital literacy instructors.

    • Recruited, trained, and supported 54 AmeriCorps members from 2009 to 2015.
  • Had volunteers donate 90,920 hours from 2011 to 2014.
  • Taught at 52 locations in the DC metro area from 2008 to 2015
  • Increased the number of course enrollments from 433 in 2008 to a peak of 1,818 in 2012.
  • Created beginners curriculum in Spanish and for people with disabilities and low literacy learners.
  • Purchased a new van in 2015 to transport donated computers, among other things.
  • Placed formerly unemployed and underemployed students in jobs earning $35,000 to $70,000 a year working at Booz Allen Hamilton, General Dynamics, IRS, the Department of Defense, US Patent and Trademark, and more.
  • Moved into new offices in fall of 2017, ensuring students work with cutting edge technology in a clean, safe, and highly accessible environment.
  • Won two WeWork Creator Awards between 2017 and 2018 for a total of $720,000 funding for expansion of classes in Maryland.
  • Started the Education Partnership for IT Careers (EPIC) program in partnership with the Prince George’s County Economic Development Corporation in fall 2017. This program marked the first time Byte Back has offered certification classes outside of DC.
  • After winning CAD $1 million in the TD Ready Challenge, expanded classes to Baltimore, MD.