It's during hard times that we learn about ourselves. 2020 was one of those times. LaunchCode was able to sustain itself and thrive last year while absorbing new lessons about our work, world, and impact.
One was that the pandemic didn't stall people's desire to change their own lives. Covid-19 accelerated it. While industries like hospitality were decimated, that harsh reality was the impetus for many people to put themselves on a new path as more than 6,600 people applied for and over 1,300 enrolled in a LaunchCode program last year. Another lesson was that true community transcends physical location. Forced to take programming virtual, we worried about maintaining community. But our grads still consistently commented on feeling like a family. We learned that the magical community-building properties of LaunchCode's programs run deeper than simple physical proximity. A third lesson was about LaunchCode's long-term impact on people and employers. Among those who started a career through LaunchCode prior to 2019, we found 95 percent are still working in tech, they stay at their initial placement company for an average of 31 months, nearly half still work at the company at which LaunchCode placed them, more than 70 percent have received a promotion, and 95 percent have received a raise since placement. LaunchCoders earn an average of $78,000 after two to three years, and the earliest LaunchCode placements earn on average $115,000 per year.
There is much of 2020 we would happily give back. But the lessons we walked away with made it a moment that changed LaunchCode for the better. We carry those gifts with us into 2021 and beyond.
I'm now confident in my future. LaunchCode has laid that foundation for me to excel. My income has increased, which has made life easier, and from what I see I believe that my potential is only going to go up. I'm feeling great about life, I'm able to provide for my family and myself, able to contribute more to the community. I'm in a better position to help everyone and that's a good feeling.— Kevyn Gandaho, Software Engineer at
My salary is triple what I was making before, and in this pandemic, that's pretty life-changing in itself. Having the apprenticeship in general has been really great — I didn't feel like I was just being thrown into the deep end. That three months with a mentor at WWT and also a background of support from LC really helping me...having that support system in the beginning has helped me feel like I have a better foundation underneath me. ... I feel very fortunate for that experience.— Madison Martinez, Software Developer at
LaunchCode changed my life. I'm now able to be in the career I want at a company that appreciates their employees, and be financially stable. Thanks to LaunchCode I was able to get skills and help looking for a job. As an apprentice I was able to make enough money to take care of things and save a little bit, and now I'm becoming a full employee at my company through LaunchCode. Donors should know they can help other people change like my life did, for the better.— Jose Romero, Quality Assurance at
[LaunchCode] gave me a really good opportunity to transition from full-time active duty to civilian life. It is a quality program that really delivers substantive skills to people, and those skills lead directly into well-paying jobs.— David Rickhard, Site Reliability Engineer at
I learned how to ask questions and how to help others. I was treated with so much value and care, that it made me realize that I do have value. because of LaunchCode, I have a career I am very proud of. I am at a job where I feel appreciated and have a lot of upward mobility, doing work I feel is very meaningful. These types of doors weren't open to me in the past because I didn't have the guidance, mentorship, or connections to get through them, but here I am and I am just so proud of myself.— Gabriela Canchola, Application Software Developer at
Teaching skills that change lives, solve employer problems, and benefit the entire community, one individual at a time.
In March, LaunchCode suddenly faced a new challenge, to find a way to deliver all of the curriculum and community experience of our in-person learning programs virtually for an unknown amount of time. Along with the rest of the world, staff adjusted to our new reality and found ways to make it work. In a matter of weeks, the team had set up new platforms, reconfigured hundreds of hours of classes, began retraining teaching staff, and reassured students that their learning journeys would continue. 1,368 students flocked to our courses as businesses shut down, jobs disappeared, and the need to prepare for the jobs of the future became more urgent. Together, we were able to continue evolving and learning through a year of tough challenges and create new opportunities for people who needed them most.
The economic impact of the pandemic and the restrictions on normal life it required caused employment rates to plummet. Many low-wage jobs disappeared almost overnight, leaving those already struggling with few options. The challenges leading to such losses also led to huge leaps in technology adoption by individuals, families, and employers suddenly clamoring for ways to digitally recreate a sense of normalcy. The very jobs that LaunchCode's programs lead to — software development, app management, systems maintenance, and many others — become some of the most depended-upon jobs in the world. With LaunchCode in their corner finding jobs that matched their skills and needs, 326 people launched new careers in technology. Many LaunchCoders went directly from high-risk yet low-wage work, exposing them to the public, to new tech jobs that allowed them to work remotely from the safety of their own home and the flexibility to care for children schooling remotely.
Perhaps more than ever before, 2020 was the year it became apparent to everyone just how necessary tech jobs are to all the digital services we rely on every day. During this period, many companies froze or significantly slowed hiring while still trying to quickly and securely accommodate all of the new users flooding in as our lives moved mostly online. For those employers who were still able to hire, they came to us with specific and varied talent needs. Our first Azure training program capped off LaunchCoders' education in preparation for a group of placements at Microsoft. Also this year, a record 99 LaunchCoders, 31% of the total careers launched, were educated in employer-sponsored custom training programs bringing whole groups of LaunchCoders on board at one time. These strategic staffing moves help ensure both the LaunchCoder and employer are planning for the long-term.
I'm always recruiting for new talent. Especially in tech it changes a lot and you need to make sure that you're always one step ahead. [...] We have so far hired 100% of the [LaunchCode] apprentices who have started with us. I would 100% recommend LaunchCode.— Marc Bernstein, Co-Founder and CEO of
During the pandemic, the need for broadly available paths into high-paying growth careers became even more urgent as millions in low-wage jobs were suddenly unemployed in an extremely uncertain economic climate. All at once, the need for communities to come together and support one another became clear to the world in a whole new way.
In 2020 we worked with partners in our communities to find ways to make our programming more accessible to a broader range of individuals than before.
We partnered with Paraquad to make our education course more accessible for people with disabilities by providing tools, resources, and aides to overcome particular challenges.
Also newly available to our students, we began working with Washington University's Brown School of Social Work to bring skilled help to finding solutions for the real-world problems that LaunchCoders face every day.
This assistance in removing barriers allows our students to continue their learning and stay on the path to a new career in technology.
Our job-focused courses wouldn't be possible without our amazing teaching staff, many of whom are former LaunchCode graduates themselves. We developed our Tech Leadership Fellowship Program to better train and benefit those facilitating the learning journeys of our students. The program offers paid training in teaching, management, diversity and inclusion, and advanced tech skills. While leading a group of students, Fellows work toward career development goals with the support of mentors in the community.
In addition to teaching, another way Alumni and others give back to the LaunchCode community is through participation in the newly inaugurated Friends Board. This group has become integral to orchestrating events and fundraisers that help support the work we do.
I learned that coding wasn't as “exotic” or difficult as I had originally thought, and with each challenge/task involved in the course I gained a little bit more confidence in myself and my abilities. ...This program allowed me to completely switch careers without having to completely start over.— Melissa Boots, Site Reliability Engineer at
I'm so thankful to have gone through such an awesome program at NO COST! LaunchCode has truly changed my life. I no longer feel broke, stuck or stagnant. This is truly a new chapter for me.— Je'Nell McCrary, Scrum Master at
Previous to this I was delivering pizza and working at Starbucks. Now that I’m in the technology world and I’m making above a comfortable salary, It’s made such a huge impact on my day-to-day life life because I don’t have that financial anxiety anymore. LaunchCode gave me a way into that path and gave me that privilege without having to go back to school for another four years.— Rachel Williams, Associate Product Manager at
LaunchCode allowed me to tap into my potential that I knew was there but had been blocked for so long from accessing it, from being able to achieve what I can achieve, and LaunchCode helped me tap into that. I didn’t have the burden of cost, and with that taken away, I knew I could make it work. LaunchCode is wonderful and changed my life.— Gina Leuty, Scrum Master at
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|Revenue & Contributions|
|Earned Program Revenue||$11,390,000|
|Other Sources and Investments||$245,000|
|Total Revenue    $15,905,000|
|Apprenticeship, Wages, Taxes & Benefits||$6,240,000|
|Management & General||$1,080,000|
|Total Expenses    $13,810,000|
|Net Profit    $2,095,000|
|Non-Government Philanthropic Support||$3,566,000|
|New Market Tax Credit||$800,000|
|Total Campaign    $4,866,000|
|Operating Cash Reserves Year End|