LaunchCode is an innovative non-profit providing opportunities to enter the field of technology by providing free tech education, job training and apprenticeship job placements. Placing driven, qualified workers into upwardly mobile careers with employers who need fresh tech talent empowers individuals, improves teams and benefits the whole community.
Thanks to our generous community of supporters, we are able to keep LaunchCode’s programs free to all students and apprentices. Your critical support makes this life-changing work possible.
One of the best things at the Mentor Center in 2017 was all the touching stories of empowerment shared by LaunchCoders on the story wall at our annual GeekGala event. (We may have even teared up a bit.) Our favorite:
"LaunchCode has provided my husband and myself with an education and a way into an amazing and fulfilling field. We have also been embraced by this awesome and inclusive community. We are eternally grateful!" — Nadia
This year we placed 282 people into new jobs. That’s 31% more than last year and 69% more than the year before that. Sometimes it’s hard to believe we get to do this for a living. Thanks to all of the LaunchCode family and supporters who help make this work possible, more hard-working people get a chance to land the tech job of their dreams, no matter where they’re starting out. From new classes to niche technology programs customized specifically for individual employer partners, whole communities benefit from all this good work. Thank you.
The past year has seen access to technology skills and careers become central to our national discussion about growing economies, improving wages, and creating the jobs of tomorrow.
That’s why, in 2017, LaunchCode continued to focus on starting tech careers and providing free, accessible tech training for people who were shut off from the vast opportunity in technology. This year, LaunchCode helped 364 people begin their tech careers, nearly 300 of them finding work through our innovative apprenticeship program.
We also kept a torrid pace in teaching people high-demand skills through accelerated, job-focused education programs. More than 1,000 people enrolled in LaunchCode’s LC101, CoderGirl or Immersive CodeCamp training classes in 2017.
We continued a tradition of innovation, working with employers like Express Scripts to build programs that train and place dozens of non-traditional job-seekers with a single employer on a rapid timeline. And we began programs in a wider range of technologies like Cobol and Geographic Information Systems to fill unmet market demand.
In 2017 we were recognized for such innovation, garnering a Grand Prize in the Inclusive Innovation Challenge, a global contest sponsored by MIT that honors organizations best using technology to give people access to the economy and improve lives.
For all the new success, 2017 again vindicated our old theory: many more people have the ability to succeed in a technology career than ever get the chance to try. This year as ever, we beat a path to jobs and opened doors to skills so the amazing people we serve could have their opportunity to shine.
We are not done. With the help of our participants, employer partners and supporters, LaunchCode will widen the career path even further in 2018, creating tech opportunities for anyone willing to work hard and seize them.
LaunchCode Executive Director
After spending time in a PhD program focused on Computer Science Education and working in research labs, Suzanne decided to start a new path. She left the program and moved to Seattle. With confidence in her programming abilities, but without any work experience to show for it, Suzanne struggled to find entry level CS positions that would consider her.
“I didn’t qualify for internships as a graduate, but I ‘didn’t have the experience’ to join the competitive work force in Seattle.”
Then, Suzanne found LaunchCode. She joined the apprenticeship program and even became a LaunchCode Teaching Fellow to help others learn as she had.
“The opportunity to get my foot in the door at a company and prove myself sounded like exactly what I needed. I’ve been at Tableau for 4 months now and I work as a Web Developer on our Drupal site. The culture has been fantastic, I’m excited to work for a company that has the same values that I do, and everyone on the web team has been incredibly helpful.”
Suzanne, Junior Web Developer
at Tableau in Seattle
That’s a lot of LaunchCoders! 789 apprenticeship placements and direct hires, as well as another 199 who landed new jobs after a LaunchCode boost. 282 of those placements were in 2017 alone!
LaunchCode’s company partnerships evolved in 2017, as we began training in even more technologies than ever before. We asked our partners to tell us where exactly they were having the most trouble finding talent and built training solutions tailored to the specific skill gaps and geographic lo- cations they were struggling to fill.
This shift in philosophy led to cohorts formally trained in Pegasystems and COBOL, integral technologies LaunchCode had never taught prior to 2017.
After re-locating from Ethiopia to Kansas City, Hakim held a series of dead-end, low-paying jobs while still hunting for employment that reflected his credentials and experience. After trying his hand at self-employment and deciding it wasn’t working out financially, Hakim applied for a LaunchCode course. After graduating, he was hired alongside other LaunchCode graduates as a technology apprentice at VML, a Kansas City tech company where he manages back-end development for an e-commerce client.
Although it was a rocky road to find professional success in a new country, Hakim maintains that it was worth the effort in order to be where he is today.
“Never give up,” said Hakim. “It is certain that both in class and at work, you will face a cascade of issues. You will often be asked to do a task that you have no clue of how or where to start. There will be times that you will be tempted to quit. But if you approach it with a sense of purpose and a problem-solving attitude, there is no amount of frustration – which will be a lot – that you will not be able to overcome.”
Hakim, Technology Associate
at VML in Kansas City
The education team created new curriculum for Java and C# tracks within LC101, which prepare students with in-demand skills using the most modern techniques.
We also launched two new programs in 2017. Immersive CodeCamp is our condensed full-time course, which ran for 14 weeks in St. Louis and Miami, with 48 students graduating. Liftoff is our new career readiness and project course focused on getting learners with solid coding skills through the challenging last job-readiness phase of their pre-apprenticeship learning journey.
After years of working in jobs that didn’t really utilize his knowledge, Shane saved up, quit his security guard job, began hunting for coding resources, and found LanuchCode.
After completing our comprehensive course, Shane became a LaunchCode Teaching Fellow. Through teaching, he was able to give back to the organization and help train others who wanted to work toward their own career in tech.
“LaunchCode has been one of the best things that’s ever happened for me, and it’s only gotten better!” “The best part (of teaching) is seeing that ‘aha!’ moment on a student’s face as they figure out a problem they’ve been struggling with.
Knowing you’ve helped that happen is a great feeling that never goes away.”
Shawn’s new skills landed him a placement at Express Scripts, where he was hired on as a full-fledged employee after his apprenticeship.
Shane, Associate Pega Developer
at Express Scripts in Saint Louis
These Key Mission Supporters are investing where it counts, giving to LaunchCode to help open doors to upwardly mobile technology careers that were previously closed.
2017 Revenue 64% Unrestricted / 36% Restricted
(Restricted revenue is funds committed and/or received that are subject to donor- or grantor-imposed restrictions based on time, place, or program.) Financials are for fiscal year ending December 31. For audited 2017 financials, view our 990.
Growing up as one of eight children, Nancy was encouraged by her parents’ belief in education. She realized the value of all forms of education, and took advantage of opportunities to advance her career. Nancy Georgen was drawn to LaunchCode’s unique mission from the very beginning and after watching the program get kicked off she made a generous gift to help ensure its success. Little did she know that after she became a donor that her own nephew, John Schulz, would sign up and take LaunchCode’s LC101 a few years later.
Nancy’s support to LaunchCode is making it possible for students like John and thousands of others to receive the job skills they need to break into technology.
As Nancy has said many times, “When you’re doing charitable work, it needs to be a charity you’re interested in and passionate about. That’s key, because then you feel you’re getting back more than you’re giving.
LaunchCode Mission Supporter
President & CEO Health Care Enterprises, Centene Corporation
Director, State & Local Practice, 18F
Principal, Edward Jones
Managing Director, Accenture
Attorney & Shareholder, Polsinelli
Board President, LaunchCode