Sunday June 26, 2022
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Code Louisville, which provides training to help people quickly enter the technology field, has helped more than 250 people start or advance their careers in technology, Mayor Greg Fischer announced.

“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.

Celebrate World Emoji Day

It’s time to celebrate emojis – those cute, sometimes annoying little images included in text messages, tweets, Facebook posts, Instagram pics, and everywhere else in today’s connect world.

World Emoji Day is celebrated on July 17, a date chosen because it is the date shown on the “calendar” emoji on most systems, including Apple iPhones and iPads, Android phones, Google services, Mozilla-based browsers, and EmojiOne. It is worth mentioning, however, that some holdouts like Twitter, Facebook, and WhatsApp aren’t on board with the July 17 emoji, opting to show a different date or a generic calendar page.

Growing out of old-school internet “emoticons” crafted from punctuation such as the :-) smile and ;-) wink, what we now know as emoji originated on mobile phones in Japan around 1999, before becoming increasingly popular worldwide nearly a decade later after being added to several major mobile operating systems. Emoji are now considered to be a large part of popular culture – in fact, in 2015, Oxford Dictionaries named the Face with Tears of Joy emoji the “‘Word’ of the Year.”

The minuscule pictograms are so popular that they even gave rise to the 2017 film, “The Emoji Movie,” featuring the voices of T. J. Miller, Anna Faris, Rob Riggle, Jennifer Coolidge, Christina Aguilera, Sofía Vergara, Patrick Stewart, and other big name stars.

The World Emoji Day website gives some background on the celebration and gives a few ideas of how you can mark the occasion, including tips on throwing an emoji-themed party.

So go ahead: text, tweet, and post your favorite emoji to everyone you know today using the hashtag #WorldEmojiDay.  And don’t forget to vote for your favorite in the World Emoji Awards.

 

Mayor Fischer cheered today’s news that Google Fiber will soon begin construction in Louisville.

“Many have eagerly waited to hear these words: Google Fiber is coming to Louisville,” Mayor Fischer said. “This next step toward bringing Google Fiber’s super-fast internet network to Louisville demonstrates our city’s commitment to the type of forward-looking innovation that creates opportunities for businesses and families.”

Google Fiber expects to soon file its first permit to building its network in Louisville, the company said today. The network construction will be done in phases, which will allow a more efficient build and reduce disruption. Google Fiber’s initial build out will focus on a handful of communities and neighborhoods.

Google Fiber plans to test innovative new ways to deploy super-fast Internet, such as the microtrenching technique already approved by the city. Google Fiber is also working on advancing wireless capabilities that would connect communities even faster.

The company will release details of its service in Louisville at a later date.

Residents can sign up for notifications about Google Fiber’s progress at http://google.com/fiber/louisville.

Google Fiber today described Mayor Fischer, the Metro Council and the Jefferson County League of Cities as valued partners for its support of Google Fiber’s efforts to come to Louisville, including for the support of the One Touch Make Ready policy.

“Louisville is officially joining a who’s who of cities that are focused on building strong economies for today and for the future,” Mayor Fischer said. “I’m eager to see the positive transformation this brings for our city’s businesses and families for years to come.”

Metro Council President David Yates said: “Google Fiber’s commitment to constructing a gigabit fiber optic network in Louisville is exciting for both our people and businesses. The infrastructure will provide a platform for further economic development and technological investment into our community.  The welcome increase in competition for both television and internet will improve the quality and cost of these services throughout our city, positively impacting every customer in this market. Our city has invested much in bringing Google Fiber from Silicon Valley to the Ohio Valley. We are excited to begin seeing the return on that investment for our citizens.”

Councilman Kevin Kramer added: “I thank Google for making the decision to invest in Louisville. We have worked hard to express our interest as a city, and believe this expansion will aid the many families, businesses, and organizations who yearn for speedy and reliable access to the internet.”

Councilman Bill Hollander said: “High speed internet is a necessity for any growing city and today’s announcement is another step toward more jobs and economic growth. Mayor Fischer’s pursuit of Google Fiber, with the support of Metro Council and our suburban cities, has already led to more competition, which means better service and pricing for our entire community. I look forward to more of both.”

Those who want to experience and learn more about virtual reality will have their chance tomorrow during a free, public event 2-3 p.m. at the University of Louisville’s Gheens Science Hall and Rauch Planetarium.

Two virtual-reality clips will be shown on the planetarium’s 55-foot, immersive dome:

  • Growing Up Girl” gives viewers a chance to experience a day in the life of a Kenyan girl as she copes with extreme poverty. The video shows the young girl as she travels vast distances to fetch water, gather wood and, after dark, walk to a nearby town so she will have lights to complete her school work.
  • Be Who You Are/Love Who You Are” shows the exuberance of gay pride parades from around the world. The clip was first shown during a 2016 LGBTQ event in Louisville and was so popular attendees rated it as the best session of the conference.

After the clips are shown, there will be a discussion about how to harness of the power of virtual reality filmmaking in the Louisville community.

The conversation will be facilitated by Aukram Burton, executive director of Kentucky Center for African American Heritage; Dean Otto, curator of film for the Speed Art Museum; Leo Osborne, founder of a video and digital communications firm; and Nathaniel Spencer, who runs a video services company and is a Louisville Film Commission advisory board member.

University of Louisville and Kentucky State University announce BA/BS-MS offering for KSU students

UofL, KSU leaders formalize collaborative

Employment growth in careers related to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), underscores the importance of a new degree collaboration between Kentucky State University and the University of Louisville. The initiative allows KSU undergraduates majoring in math to study seven semesters (3.5 years) at KSU, and three semesters (1.5 years) at UofL, earning a bachelor of arts or bachelor of science (BA/BS) in math at KSU and a master of science (MS) in biostatistics from UofL. Students benefit by completing six years of study in five years.

“We continue to see a growing demand for a more highly educated workforce throughout the Commonwealth,” said UofL’s Interim President Greg Postel, M.D. “This collaborative effort will expose underrepresented groups to graduate education in a degree that will lead to high-demand, high-paying jobs and help Kentucky continue to move forward in an ever more competitive economy.”

“We are pleased to partner with a great institution like the University of Louisville, and I thank the KSU and UofL faculty for their innovative and creative thinking; our aim is to build a strong P-20 pipeline to serve Kentucky and this initiative helps meet that goal,” said KSU Interim President Aaron Thompson, Ph.D.

Interested students are identified in the early stages of their study at KSU and are mentored for the graduate program. They must take the GRE and apply for admission to UofL. Upon admission, students study the spring semester of their senior year at UofL and take courses that count toward a bachelor’s degree in math at KSU and the master’s degree in biostatistics at UofL. The balance of the master level courses are completed in the fifth year toward the MS degree in biostatistics.

Kentucky State Senator Gerald A. Neal, 33rd District, is an alumnus of both KSU and UofL and says the initiative is a significant inter-institutional collaboration.   Continue reading

Mayor Greg Fischer announced today that Louisville Metro has been ranked a top digital city, placing in the top 10 in the Center for Digital Government’s Digital Cities Survey.

The survey takes a broad look at how cities are approaching open data, transparency, innovation, citizen services and engagement, and much more.

“Our city prides itself on its innovative and entrepreneurial culture, and this recognition as a top 10 digital city is welcome affirmation that we’re on the right track,” Mayor Greg Fischer said. “We’re working to move more and more services online and to meet citizens and businesses where they are.”

In recent months, the city has hired its first data officer, launched a new open data portal, and announced plans for a Gigabit Experience Center.

“This year’s top digital cities are using technology to ensure citizens can meaningfully interact with city government more easily than in any other time in history,” said Todd Sander, executive director of the Center for Digital Government. “From open data portals to enhanced connectivity and mobile platforms, this year’s top-ranked cities are actively promoting transparency, encouraging citizen participation and making it easier for people to do business with government. Congratulations to the winners!”

This year the survey honors cities in five population classifications. Louisville placed 9th in the 500,000 or more classification:

500,000 or more population category:

  1. City of Los Angeles, CA
  2. City of Philadelphia, PA
  3. City of Phoenix, AZ
  4. City of Charlotte, NC (tie for 4th)
  5. City of Seattle, WA (tie for 4th)
  6. City of Austin, TX
  7. City of Albuquerque, NM
  8. City and County of Denver, CO
  9. City and County of San Francisco, CA
  10. City of Louisville, KY
  11. City of El Paso, TX

Learn more about the awards on the Digital Communities website, part of e.Republic and get highlights from the winning cities.

About Center for Digital Government
The Center for Digital Government is a national research and advisory institute on information technology policies and best practices in state and local government.

The Center is a division of e.Republic, the nation’s only media and research company focused exclusively on state and local government and education.

Switch to goky.ky.gov will save taxpayers up to $750,000 annually

KY_Transportation_CabinetMotorists traveling throughout Kentucky can now navigate the highways and by-ways of the Bluegrass with a modernized tool. Goky.ky.gov, an online traffic and roadway information portal, has replaced the traditional 511 travel and weather phone system.

The improved, user-friendly platform provides travelers access to reliable, up-to-date information regarding traffic conditions, construction activity, and the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet’s (KYTC) response to weather-related events. The new GoKY website includes reports from KYTC as well as from Waze – a real-time traffic reporting application based on crowdsourced information.

“After almost two decades of 511 use, today’s travelers are bypassing the dated phone line for visual, on-demand road and weather conditions,” said Sec. Greg Thomas. “Goky.ky.gov is the perfect solution to satisfy the needs of the traveling public while stewarding state dollars. Our Cabinet employees and partners have worked diligently to deliver a platform that tells the public what they want to know before hitting the road.”

Now, motorists who dial 511 will hear a brief phone message informing them of the change. To request Safety Assistance for Freeway Emergencies (SAFE) Patrol in cases of vehicle breakdown or to report incidents, motorists will be directed to call 877-FOR-KYTC. In addition, the former 511 smart phone application will no longer be offered or operational. The text and email alert feature has also been discontinued.

To provide travelers with a mobile option, KYTC encourages motorists to download the free Waze application. Since 2014, the Cabinet has participated in a public-private partnership with Waze CCP (Connected Citizens Program). Both entities provide a free exchange of real-time data every two minutes, giving drivers a clearer understanding of roadway events. The app provides turn-by-turn navigation as well as traffic reporting.

“Helping drivers have a better experience on Kentucky roads is important but not at the expense of safety. We advise drivers to use GoKY to plan ahead before they drive. To avoid distracted driving, ask your passenger to report delays and incidents using Waze,” said Dr. Noelle Hunter, executive director of the Kentucky Office of Highway Safety.

Over the last two years, call volume to 511 has dropped by nearly 40 percent. This drastic decline prompted Cabinet officials to evaluate the hotline’s effectiveness. Phasing out the phone system will save taxpayers up to $750,000 annually.

In addition, the 511 phase-out shifts all data management to in-house Cabinet staff, which eliminates the need for contractor services. Using existing enterprise infrastructure technologies, Cabinet engineers will now be able to save, capture and process data for future planning and highway safety purposes, a function not available with the old 511 mapping and phone system.

When 511 was conceptualized, the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) recommended that the three-digit number serve as the single travel information hotline, which eliminated the need for multiple phone numbers. States are not federally required to implement 511; however, Kentucky chose to adopt 511 in 2000 after the Kentucky Public Service Commission permanently assigned the number.

Motorists can access travel and traffic conditions at http://goky.ky.gov or contribute their own reports at http://www.waze.com or via the Waze mobile application. Follow us on Twitter @KYTCGoKY.

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