Northwest Mississippi Community College is partnering with Base Camp Coding Academy of Water Valley to expand the regional education resources for Mississippi’s next generation of software developers. Northwest will help fund instructor staff at the Water Valley-based non-profit, as well as paid internship opportunities and non-credit transcripts for Base Camp graduates.
For almost 90 years Northwest has been fulfilling its mission to bring affordable, quality educational opportunities to every citizen in their 11-county district. This mission is broad not only in terms of the number of students Northwest serves and the large geographic area that these students cover, but also in the many diverse skills that the modern work environment requires.
Northwest offers educational opportunities in the form of local GED classes throughout its 11 counties, multi-year degreed programs as well as workforce training programs that are coordinated to support the needs of over 90 regional employers.
Glen Evans, co-founder of Base Camp Coding Academy and the president of FNC Inc. in Oxford is thrilled with this new partnership.
“From our first conversations about Base Camp, we have referred to this initiative as hi-tech vocational training. Training to a job-ready skill level in a short period of time is what we mean when we say vocational, and Northwest has been supporting our local manufacturers with skilled employees for decades with their diverse training programs. We could not ask for a better mentor and partner as we take this same approach to the hi-tech field of software development.”
Base Camp Coding Academy provides high school graduates with a yearlong vocational training program in software development to support the technology needs of local and regional employers. Once students leave the program, they will be qualified for full-time jobs with Mississippi technology companies.
“When we first learned about Base Camp, we had one question,” David Campbell, district dean of Career, Technical and Workforce Education at Northwest said. “Do programs like Base Camp help us fulfill our mission? And the answer is absolutely. Base Camp will reach students that might not otherwise pursue additional education, will offer this education at no cost to the students, and Base Camp has the support of areas businesses. These are all the right things to do, and we are excited to find ways to collaborate.”
Northwest will help fund instructors at Base Camp who will lead much of the classroom instruction and act as mentors for students throughout the yearlong program.
Students that successfully graduate from the Base Camp program will receive a non-credit transcript from Northwest, and additional funding opportunities will exist to help employers interested in hiring Base Camp graduates in the form of paid internships.
Dwayne Casey, director of Workforce Development and Community Services for Northwest has been instrumental on working through the details of this partnership.
“Base Camp has structured an education solution for our hi-tech industries in much the way Northwest has been working with our manufacturing business partners for decades. Base Camp sees our local employers as the customer, and has involved the business community in the design of their curriculum, the funding of their program, and the employment pipeline for their graduates. We know this model works, and we are looking forward to growing its success in new sectors of Mississippi’s economy.”
Many Mississippi companies face a constant shortage of skilled computer programmers in the workforce. Last year, there were nearly 1,100 job openings, and less than 200 computer science graduates in the state. Base Camp works closely with the teaching staff of area high schools to identify those students with great promise, and no alternate path to higher education. Following a nomination process, each student undergoes a number of interviews and aptitude testing to determine if Base Camp is the right fit. For those students who are accepted into the program, they can look forward to a challenging 12 months of full time study, with a 100 percent scholarship.
Sean Anthony, Base Camp’s Director and a long-time champion of education in Mississippi, highlights another positive aspect of the partnership between Base Camp and Northwest.
“Working closely with Northwest allows us to offer a pathway to success for every student we meet in our recruitment processes. Base Camp offers a very specific opportunity, and for students with the aptitude and drive we hope to launch them on a long and successful career in the software world. Working closely with Northwest, we will have an education solution for every student we meet, whether that is with us at Base Camp, or through one of the many education opportunities Northwest has to offer that may be a better fit for a particular student.”
Base Camp classes begin June 1.
About Base Camp Coding Academy
Base Camp Coding Academy, based in Water Valley, Mississippi, is a charitable, non-profit vocational education training program that delivers fast paced, focused computer programming to under-advantaged youth in Mississippi to support the technology needs of local and regional employers. The program’s primary objective is to help students pursue a career in computer science through an immersive classroom environment that features current, real world technologies and projects. For more information about the Base Camp Coding Academy, visit BaseCampCodingAcademy.org
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