Mississippi Center for Public Policy Discusses Workforce Development With Our Chairman

This past week, the Mississippi Center for Public Policy’s Matthew Nicaud published an interview with Mike Forster, chairman of Mississippi Coding Academies. The article focuses on the role that the Academies can play in building a skilled workforce in Mississippi.

Mike Forster - Mississippi Coding Academies
Mike Forster, chairman of Mississippi Coding Academies

Forster began by noting that the Mississippi Coding Academies address two specifics needs—they create access to technology education for an underserved population while increasing the pool of coders in Mississippi.

“The interesting thing is that the four-year colleges in Mississippi produce about 250 to 300 computer science graduates a year, and half of them leave the state. We’ve got about a thousand openings right now in the state for people with the kinds of skills that Mississippi Coding Academies produce,” Forster told MCPP.

Forster pointed out that another critical role that Mississippi Coding Academies plays is in building relationships with employers. Again, the approach is two-pronged. First, the coders work in a business-like environment, where instructors teach soft skills and coding principles. Second, the Academies work with employers in the state, bringing them in to speak with the coders and making them a part of both curriculum development.

“One of the unique things that is a very important part of our program is that we build partnerships with employers. They make sure our curriculum is up to date, they evaluate our students. They help us select our students. They come in multiple times a year,” Forster said.

Employers evaluate the final presentations that coders make as their 11-month term comes to an end. So far, nearly all coders have found work in the state or have gone on to further their education.

Why Mississippi? Low cost of living and students with a strong worth ethic. Part of the growth and success of Mississippi Coding Academies comes from the fact that the coders who show a strong desire to succeed can change their career trajectory dramatically. After less than a year, our coders enter corporate or government offices with good salaries and great prospects. The fact that there’s strong demand for these skilled workers in Mississippi is a win-win.

Read the full interview with Mike Forster here. We thank Matthew Nicaud and the Mississippi Center for Public Policy for taking the time to help more people learn about Mississippi Coding Academies and our exciting plans for the future.