Reaching for Tech Right Out of High School


Urban Alliance Connects Recent High School Grad to Byte Back and His Future in IT

By Yvette Scorse, Communications Manager

Premier working2 crop

Premier Kelly takes apart a laptop in the upstairs office of Byte Back’s Brookland headquarters. Photos by Yvette Scorse

Before he even finished his senior year at Kingsman Academy Public Charter School in DC, Premier Kelly had planned his pathway into IT.

He spent time this year learning about and fixing his home computer and at the same time was recruited by Urban Alliance, which empowers under-resourced youth to succeed through paid internships, formal training, and mentorship.

There he completed a five-week professional development training, which prepared him for his next step – Byte Back. With his strong interest in IT, Byte Back was the perfect internship match for Premier. He started interning in March and will be here through August.

Although he hasn’t had formal IT training yet, by the time Premier had started his internship, he had already taught himself quite a bit through online research and some hands-on practice.

“I had some problems with my PC, so instead of waiting to ship it and come back fixed, I thought, ‘Why not fix it myself?’” Premier says, probably unaware of how this statement shows his unique curiosity about technology and self-driven spirit.

Premier 1 cropHe learned how to handle different parts and install motherboards and graphics cards. And, of course, he fixed his own PC.

At Byte Back he’s learning even more with help from Byte Back refurbishers, especially Sammie Fitzgerald. Even as Premier talks, he’s busy dissecting a laptop, unscrewing pieces, untangling wires, engrossed and at ease.

Nicole Green, Byte Back chief operating officer, serves as Premier’s mentor, one of the requirements of the partnership with Urban Alliance.

“Interns are a great help! We’re all really busy at Byte Back, and an intern helps us get to the work that we sometimes just can’t get to,” Nicole says.

Interning at a nonprofit also has an added bonus for Premier and for the people that benefit from Byte Back’s services. “He’s getting experience but also giving back to Byte Back and to the community, because, in the end, everything he does here is to benefit DC residents,” Nicole says. As Byte Back is increasing outreach to youth in the community, it’s also an added bonus having a young person in the office.

Premier is on the right track for his future in IT. As an Urban Alliance intern, his odds of success are high, as 80% of the program’s alumni are connected to a pathway, such as college, a career training program, or employment.

Premier hopes to start Byte Back’s CompTIA A+ Certification Program in the fall, gaining formal training and an industry-recognized certification to start his career in IT.

“The best part” of the internship at Byte Back, Premier says, is “being able to have a mentor and learn a skill set that’s valuable in the tech industry.”


Special thanks to Urban Alliance for introducing us to Premier and for providing over 2,000 under-resourced youths with internships since 1996. Thanks to Premier Kelly for sharing his story and his skills with us for the summer!

Is your organization or company interested in becoming a positive influence on a local youth’s future?

Get information on becoming an Urban Alliance job partner and send an inquiry to Nathaniel Cole, executive director, at ncole@theurbanalliance.org 


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