Bartel Welch is Passionate About STEAM Education
Making STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) education fun, engaging, and thought provoking, especially for kids, is Bartel Welch’s passion. The founder and executive director of CODE313 is Connect 313’s newly elected chair of our Digital Literacy and Skilling committee.
His nonprofit’s new 7,500 square foot STEAM eXperience Center at 2987 Franklin Street in Detroit’s Rivertown district is also one of Connect 313’s 22 Neighborhood Tech Hubs. In addition, CODE313 received our Youth Advocate award during Detroit Digital Inclusion Week last year for its dedication to creating learning opportunities and career pathways for young people.
“Connect 313 has helped connect us to other people and organizations, opening doors we may not have been able to open,” he says. “My goal as chair of the Digital Literacy and Skilling committee is continue to push the envelope of technology curriculum – getting it into more schools and organizations – and figuring out where the gaps are between school and the working world, so our students are ready for today’s high-tech workforce.”
Bartel was born and raised in Detroit. He attended Detroit Public Schools and graduated from Cass Tech high school. In college, he started out pursing medicine, earning a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and biology from Xavier University of Louisiana in New Orleans, and attending medical school at Wayne State University. Along the way, he discovered his true passion is entrepreneurship.
“I started my own company doing web design, logos, branding, business cards and more,” he says. “In 2009, after Detroit’s bankruptcy, I worked for a marketing agency that worked with the auto industry and that role really opened my eyes. When I started to travel and go into boardrooms and see other people working in this field, I saw there were not many people who looked like me. I had to do my own research to find out why. That’s how CODE313 was born.”
CODE313 is dedicated to providing equitable access to STEAM education. Their facility in Rivertown features a drone cage, robotics, esports, 3D printing, laser cutting, classroom space for teaching coding and more. The center is expected to serve 2,000+ students per month.
“The digital divide is definitely solvable,” Bartel says. “It just takes a team effort and it’s a constant effort that needs to be applied. It’s not going to happen overnight. What’s rewarding to me is seeing the results, seeing the excitement on the youth’s faces, seeing people get jobs. With that, I see the future being much brighter.”Want to get involved? Learn more by visiting connect313.org.