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MS Coding Academy featured at Workforce Wednesday
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Herbert Brown with MS Coding Academy
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Mississippi Public Broadcasting through the American Graduate program hosted its second Workforce Wednesday luncheon on January 16. Herbert Brown from the Mississippi Coding Academy was the guest speaker. Mississippi Coding Academies (mscoding.org) operates tuition-free, 11-month courses that transform recent high school graduates into full-stack coders and web developers. The Jackson campus began instruction on October 23, 2017 and, in its second year, has 25 junior developers.

Program:
The coders undertake progressively more advanced tasks using current industry techniques and languages in a simulated workplace. They keep industry hours of 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., five days a week, with standard business holidays. Three instructor/coaches provide formal instruction (about 10% of the time) and coaching and supervision (90%). Soft skills are emphasized as much as technical coding skills. At completion, the coders will have worked in a business-like setting for 11-months.
The critical success factors are:

• A rigorous student recruitment and selection program
• Deep engagement with employers on student selection, curriculum, progress and hiring
• A simulated work place to “learn coding by coding,” rather than a traditional academic format
• A veteran classroom teacher and a senior coder with current industry skills and experience
• Motivated students with superior work ethics, not necessarily prior computer experience
• Collaboration with research universities, public schools and community colleges

Goals:
• Prepare highly motivated recent high school graduates who are not in college or junior college for careers in technology with starting salaries of $30,000 plus
• Reduce the shortage of available coding professionals (1,200 open coding jobs in the state)
• Establish Mississippi as a high growth area in coding and technology
• Create positive role models for our under-skilled and underemployed population

Brown is an instructor at Mississippi Coding Academies. He began working with the academies in September 2017. He helps facilitate lessons, create lesson plans, recruit candidates, broker partnerships with local employers, plan and coordinate operations, assist in job placement, and other activities that help to reach the goal of employment for graduates of the academy.
American Graduate Workforce Wednesday Luncheons will be held for one hour at 11:30 a.m. every third Wednesday of the month. The next luncheon is scheduled for February 21. For more information or to register for the next Workforce Wednesday Luncheon, visit our website at www.gettingtowork.mpbonline.org

American Graduate is public media’s long-term commitment to help communities prepare all students for success in school, careers and life. Since 2011, public media has played an important role in local communities and the national graduation rate is now at an unprecedented 84.1 percent. The high school diploma is a key launching point into a student’s future success, but it is not the final destination. Together with stations and their partners, CPB launched the next phase of the initiative, American Graduate: Getting to Work. Public media is partnering with schools and businesses and helping prepare students with the skill sets and training needed to be part of the new workforce, especially for high-demand fields.