C Spire is partnering with the Base Camp Coding Academy to help train Mississippi’s next generation of software developers.
The Mississippi-based diversified telecommunications and technology services company recently awarded a grant to the charitable, non-profit organization, which provides under-advantaged youth with fast-paced, focused vocational training in computer programming to support the technology needs of local and regional employers.
Base Camp works with high school graduates who have historically been underrepresented in the computer science field through an intense, year-long vocational training program in software programming and computer coding. Once students leave the program, they have an opportunity to pursue full-time employment with Mississippi companies that need their skills.
C Spire and other technology companies who are prospective employers are looking for qualified applicants to fill their growing need for software programming and development. The companies face a constant shortage of engineers to hire.
Meanwhile, the number of skilled programmers entering the workforce hasn’t kept pace with the growing demand for such talent. According to Code.org, which lobbies for computer science teaching in schools, there are over 600,000 computing jobs open nationwide. Yet, there are only 38,175 computer science graduates who entered the workforce in 2014.
“We always have open positions for software developers here at FNC, and I know from my colleagues across the state, this is a shared problem,” said Glen Evans, president of the Oxford-based real estate information technology company and a Base Camp advisory board member. “High tech industries are still relatively new in Mississippi, and we are at a critical time of growth. Bringing the vocational training models that have been so successful in other sectors to coding skills just makes sense. This is simply high-tech vo-tech.”
Base Camp Coding Academy was founded in 2015 by Glen Evans and Kagan Coughlin of Water Valley. The two friends and former colleagues have a track record of bringing their experience and expertise from the banking and software industries to locally-based community improvement projects.
This latest venture is no different. Base Camp requires a full time commitment from their students for 12 months, working through a fast-paced curriculum 8 hours every day, according to Coughlin. The results are a win-win for students and employers. Students receive a valuable education and get an opportunity to work with and for some of Mississippi’s leading technology companies, he added.
“Our students focus on becoming fantastic programmers. They are giving all they have, their time and hard work, to build a valuable asset for Mississippi’s future. The financial support, that all-important third leg in the stool of education, is being provided by leaders across Mississippi’s business and philanthropic communities,” Coughlin said.
Base Camp Coding Academy, functioning as a non-profit charity, is free to students who apply and qualify to participate in the program. “When these young adults succeed here, they will have a lifetime to contribute to the economic growth of our state and country, and to be positive influences in their communities,” Coughlin said. “Glen and I saw that this was one of the best investments we could make in the future of Mississippi, and this has been confirmed time and again as we meet with visionaries and leaders across the state who not only understand the value of this mission, but have decided to financially support Base Camp.”
C Spire, through its non-profit C Spire Foundation, is continuing its legacy of investing in Mississippi’s infrastructure, growth, and future as a founding sponsor of Base Camp Coding Academy, according to Foundation Director Beth Byrd. “As a company with deep roots in Mississippi, we know first-hand what can be accomplished with hard work and the support of our community. Mississippi has rich soil, and we believe that Base Camp is planting a new crop of smart, energetic programmers who will help companies like ours be successful in the future,” she added.
For more information about supporting the Base Camp Coding Academy, contact Kagan Coughlin at Kagan@basecampcodingacademy.org or Glen Evans at firstname.lastname@example.org.