MS Coding Academies to Launch TechShare Program in 2021
Three years of running Mississippi Coding Academies — along with experience gained during the COVID-19 pandemic — have made it clear that adding the ability to create more coders in rural counties around the state is crucial to Mississippi’s economic growth.
Transportation to our existing academy locations is one of the most significant barriers to entry for young Mississippians seeking a new career in technology.
Thanks to a grant from the United States Department of Agriculture and support from the Appalachian Regional Commission, Mississippi Coding Academies has created the TechShare program to connect coders in remote venues with instructors who work from Jackson and Starkville locations.
In 2021 and beyond, the TechShare program will enable us to add “satellite” locations and implement remote learning tools to reach young adults who don’t live near our physical academies. Those same tools should also help us extend our programming to some of the state’s most underserved areas. We have already identified municipal school district partners in communities near our Starkville location for a pilot program.
“We could not be more pleased to have USDA and ARC support for this exciting new initiative bringing 21st-century skills to our rural counties,” said Mike Forster, chairman of Mississippi Coding Academies. “This grant provides the springboard for the Mississippi Coding Academies to expand its reach into smaller cities like Louisville, Choctaw, and Columbus.”
Forster said it would be a shame to exclude deserving and highly qualified young people from the opportunity to build a career in the digital economy because they lack transportation to one of Mississippi Colding Academies’ major hubs.
“TechShare provides that access and we are excited about what it will mean to the underserved population of our state,” he said.
The Mississippi Coding Academies staff responded to the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020 by moving classes entirely into the cloud, allowing everyone to attend virtually. The result has meant that remote productivity tools such as Discord, Slack, and Microsoft Teams have been added to the curriculum, giving us tools we will continue to use to move forward with TechShare.