“It is critical for our economy and our community’s future to have as many people as possible gaining the skills to embrace the technologies of today and tomorrow,” Mayor Fischer said. “So, it’s exciting that a homegrown initiative like Code Louisville has become a national model for developing tech talent – and our goal is to take that to an even higher level.”
There have been 821 graduates of the 12-week training course, ranging in age from 18 to 71. Graduates have landed jobs at more than 150 local companies, with an average starting salary of about $48,000.
The free training has been a game-changer for many participants, including Tina Maddox, who was a stay-at-home mom when she started Code Louisville. Now, she is a Junior DevOps Engineer at Louisville-based El Toro Internet Marketing.
“I wouldn’t have the job I have today without this training, it’s changed my life,” Maddox said. “It was very hard work but I’m proof that it absolutely can be done, even without any type of tech background.”
Maddox is one of 12 Code Louisville graduates hired by El Toro, helping the company keep pace with its recent growth of more than 12,000 percent.
“This program has been great for Louisville and for El Toro,” said Stacy Griggs, president & CEO of El Toro. “As we have scaled from a half dozen employees to over 100 team members in the last four years, it’s been vitally important to have a strong pipeline of software development talent. Code Louisville has been an important factor in increasing the amount of tech talent available in Louisville.”
Other local companies that have hired multiple graduates include Appris, GE Appliances, Humana, Interapt, QSR Automations and Zirmed.
Code Louisville is designed specifically to help people prepare for software development jobs. During the online training provided through Treehouse, participants are supported by volunteer mentors, many of whom are themselves Code Louisville graduates. The program has had more than 130 mentors involved.
“This training is truly changing lives while also providing a quick pipeline of fresh talent that is helping meet the evolving demands of our existing employers and also companies that are eyeing Louisville for relocation or expansion,” said Michael Gritton, executive director of KentuckianaWorks which operates Code Louisville. “The diversity of participants is amazing: people of all ages and backgrounds, with GEDs to Ph.Ds, and from plumber assistants to math teachers and professionals from other countries.”
The program launched with federal funding in 2014, but interest and participation exploded in April 2015 when President Barack Obama visited and cited Code Louisville as a model for the national TechHire initiative, which had just started.
As a testament to the program’s need and popularity, there are currently more than 1,000 people on a waiting list. Admission is prioritized for those in greatest need, including individuals who are unemployed, from lower income families and veterans.
Code Louisville is funded through a Workforce Innovation Fund grant from the U.S. Department of Labor.
The program is based just west of the city’s NuLu neighborhood. More information is available at codelouisville.org.