Mississippi Coding Academies Named a Top 10 Finalist in Prestigious MIT Solve Challenge

Enhanced Mississippi Model - MIT Solve
MIT Solve has named the Mississippi Coding Academies (MCA) a finalist in its “Reimaging Pathways to Employment in the U.S.” challenge. As a finalist in this challenge, held by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MCA will now present their solution directly to judges for final consideration.

Called “The Enhanced Mississippi Model,” the solution proposed by Mississippi Coding Academies outlines a 13-month, full-stack coder training program that offers a path for underserved and displaced workers into well-paid tech careers. Coders begin with a 10-week introduction to software development followed by MCA’s internal 11-month full-stack curriculum and then employment and continuing education with Mississippi CodeWorks. This program can lead, over several years, to designation as an Amazon AWS-certified Senior DevOps Engineer.

The Enhanced Mississippi Model is one of ten finalists in the challenge out of a field of over 190 applicants. MIT Solve will award cash prizes to at least five of the finalists and partner them with one of the top workforce development boards in the country to pilot their solution. Being an MIT Solve finalist puts Mississippi Coding Academies in front of the top tier of education technology investors, donors, and thought leaders.

“In four years, we’ve had great success honing the Enhanced Mississippi Model, with 75 full-stack coders trained. Some coders continue into higher education, but most took jobs paying, on average, more than $40,000 a year,” said Rich Sun, director of the Jackson site and lead on the challenge application. “It’s nice to have confirmation from a prestigious university such as MIT telling us we’re doing something right.”

The “Reimaging Pathways to Employment” MIT Solve challenge is part of the larger The Future of Work Grand Challenge, a $6 million effort to jumpstart solutions that help people from historically underserved communities prepare for the modern workforce. Along with the MIT Solve challenge, MCA has submitted a solution for the similar XPRIZE Rapid Reskilling challenge, which is expected to announce finalists in the first quarter of 2021.

Solve is an initiative of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) with a mission to solve world challenges. Solve is a marketplace for social impact innovation. Through open innovation Challenges, Solve finds forward-thinking tech-based social entrepreneurs all around the world. Solve then brings together MIT’s innovation ecosystem and a community of Members to fund and support these entrepreneurs to help them drive lasting transformational impact.

Mississippi Coding Academies was founded in 2017 as a joint project between Innovate Mississippi and the State of Mississippi via the Mississippi Development Authority. It’s now an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation. MCA offers a non-traditional path to create new and diverse software professionals, resulting in improved economic opportunities for Mississippians, particularly those from underserved communities.