Learn to code. Get a job. Hire talent.
At LaunchCode, we know that while talent is evenly distributed, opportunity is not. Our mission is to build a skilled workforce by creating pathways for driven people seeking careers in technology. We spent all year (and every year) working on expanded education and employment programs that help level the playing field, not just to expand access, but to create equitable access.
These careers and the work they produce will shape the world we live in tomorrow, and that means it’s crucial that we open them up to all types of people from backgrounds different than our own, and experiences wider than the ones we’ve had. This year we made progress toward those goals, and we’re not planning on stopping!
And it’s not even close to everything. We also built out our LiftOff job-readiness program to help bridge the gap between graduation and employment with things like resume reviews, mock interviews, live coding practice,and portfolio help. Our tech team has been working to streamline and optimize the back-end processes for our students, candidates, and employers, updating 302,495 lines of code this year. We tried new things in new places, holding our first class in North St. Louis County, beginning classes near bases for current and veteran military members and their families, and teaching in new locations like D.C. and Minneapolis. We’re finding new ways to bring introductory education to even more people, partnering with local libraries and charities to bring pre-coding fundamentals to the public, even working with the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Educationon plans to introduce students to a wide variety of STEM careers and technology through standardized curriculum.
Overall, LaunchCode thrived in 2018 by delving deeper into the needs of employers, job-seekers, and communities and developed new and innovative means of filling those needs. This is vital work of which we should all be proud!
Since inception, LaunchCode has existed to break down barriers that prevent people from thriving and businesses from growing. Looking back at 2018, I’m proud that LaunchCode found new ways to overcome barriers to build new pipelines of skilled, passionate junior tech talent for industry partners.
We know that when you level the playing field for learners of all backgrounds through free, accessible technology training and job placement, everyone wins.
We saw thousands of people intrigued by LaunchCode career opportunities but unsure if our job-focused programs were a good fit for them. So we created Discovery, a free, self-paced curriculum designed to expose learners to code and bolster the fundamental skills necessary to be successful in classes like LC101 or CoderGirl. On their own or through community partners, hundreds of curious learners accessed Discovery and empowered themselves to make informed choices about a tech career.
We found learners who had built substantial technical skill but whose progress toward a career needed one last push. So we deployed Liftoff, a structured program through which aspiring technologists can travel the last mile of job-readiness by brushing up on interview skills, crafting standout technical résumés and building a project that highlights their hard-earned coding skill set.
We heard from employers who love LaunchCode’s mission and passionate candidates but who were hiring for specific skills in less common technologies. So we grew a targeted training program and used it to train and place more than 100 apprentices in technologies like COBOL, Pega, ServiceNow, zOS Mainframe, and Agile Scrum. This opened new doors to job seekers and fulfilled acute employer needs that are impossible or incredibly costly to address through traditional means.
By watching and listening intently and stretching ourselves to solve the problems we saw, LaunchCode created profound impact in 2018. More than 1,658 people enrolled in a LaunchCode job-focused learning program. We placed people into (a record!) 344 apprenticeships and jobs with LaunchCode employer partners. LaunchCode paid out more than $3.6 million in wages and fringe to apprentices in our programs.
Most importantly we touched thousands of lives, affected the trajectory of hundreds of families, and offered a solution for 100 companies seeking to close the skills gap. Without LaunchCode, so many success stories would be left untold.
The tech talent challenges our communities face are not going away, but 2018 proves LaunchCode holds many answers. I hope you’ll celebrate with us the victories of this past year and join us as we rush into the tests ahead.
“LaunchCode is creating a path into tech that’s far more accessible than the typical route of a four-year degree in computer science.”
“LaunchCode, which just turned five and has garnered praise from former President Barack Obama, is educating the next generation of coders and has seen 80 percent of its participants begin a tech career without a computer science degree.”
“Putting St. Louis on the tech inclusion map is the excellence of LaunchCode, an organization establishing national best practices for deploying a coding 'bootcamp' model to connect underemployed and underserved workers to opportunities in tech at companies such as MasterCard and Anheuser-Busch.”
Senior Vice President & Chief Human Resources, BJC Health Care
EVP, CEO & President, Health Care Enterprises, Centene
Robin Carnahan - Treasurer
Director, State & Local Practice, 18F
Managing Director, Accenture
Principal & Senior Director, Edward Jones
Senior Director, Digital Integration & Analytics, Boeing
Tim McFadden - Secretary
Jim McKelvey - President
Founder/CEO of Invisibly
LaunchCode’s Discovery program is designed to introduce everyone to the basic ideas behind computer programming, and develop the fundamental skills necessary to decide to pursue the next step in learning to code. We developed this special online self-paced curriculum to reach people earlier in their learning journey, teaching individuals who may have missed out on tech education in high school or higher education.
South Florida LaunchCoder JudyAm Rincon uses the digital security and API skills she learned at LaunchCode to help Banks using Mastercard products throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.
Building out our capacity for Targeted Training cohorts to solve specific employer needs in a range of technologies and timeframes has allowed us to place even more people into highly sought after tech roles.
27% of our 2018 placements were through our new group Targeted Training Programs, like the graduating class of Mainframe Apprentices featured in this video, headed to Express Scripts.
One of the things we’ve seen proven over and over again is that peoples’ past jobs and experiences aren’t a hindrance in their ability to be a rockstar programmer, they’re actually an asset.
From pastry chefs, to dancers, to soldiers, to moms, all the LaunchCoders that passed through our doors this year brought their dedication and effort from their previous (or still ongoing) roles to bear in learning the new languages, workflows, and tools of the tech trade.
“Before working with LaunchCode, some of the challenges we experienced were finding a qualified talent here in the local area, so by engaging with LaunchCode talent, we’ve been able to really help find people who have the right attitude and aptitude, which is extremely important to staffing the right workforce.
The LaunchCode people that we’ve hired in the past and the candidates that we are training now have been very impressive based on their background and learning agility, which is one big reason that we continue to partner with LaunchCode.”
— Micah Schwanitz, Director of Program and Project Management for Operations at Mastercard
We couldn't be more grateful for all of the support we've received this year. Your contributions have made the seemingly impossible possible, lifted up others in our communities, and helped pie-in-the-sky career dreams come true.
Because of your help, we're able to provide all this tech education and job placement services at no cost — zero dollars — to each learner and job seeker. This plus the hard work and sweat they put into learning and working every day leads to family-sustaining wages and upwardly-mobile futures for them and each member of their household.
Special Thanks to the donors who made this night of appreciation for our community possible!
1904labs, Boeing, Chapman Hogan
Insurance, Charter Spectrum, Edward
Jones, Enterprise , Express Scripts, Slalom,
World Wide Technology
Anheuser-Busch, Fusion Marketing,
Hunter Engineering, Polsinelli
One of the great perks for LaunchCode staff is hearing the stories of success from our LaunchCoders. Occasionally, someone will drop us a note just to say thanks. This year, one especially touched us, when Sharon Austin of Tampa Bay wrote to her instructor Brian Jenkins to thank him.