Learn to Code / Get a Job / Hire Talent
For our nearly nine years of existence we have known that resilience is a universal trait among LaunchCode learners and candidates.
We see people apply for LaunchCode programs four and five times before breaking through on the sixth. Once enrolled in a program, learners come up against stiff challenges, assignments designed to test their sticktoitiveness and stretch them beyond what they believe their own ability will allow. LaunchCode graduates take their skills into a landscape that often is inclined to cast doubt on their likelihood of success.
Through all of that, LaunchCoders emerge with a willingness to dust themselves off and try again. With a won’t-be-denied mentality. LaunchCoders come to understand that it is their belief in themselves and not the preconceptions of others that determine their place in the world. Those are the markers of Resilience.
2021 delivered overwhelming evidence that, like its participants, LaunchCode itself is an amazingly resilient organization.
The year began still darkened by the pandemic, with hiring constrained as employers faced uncertainty about the economy and the future. But neither LaunchCode nor its many partners and supporters let the barriers of fear and circumstance deter us from our mission. Our generous supporters never wavered. The community of individuals who make up the LaunchCode family never abandoned us. A fearless team of staff and volunteers never stopped living into the idea that LaunchCode’s work and impact were more vital in this moment than in any other in our history.
And because those things were true, LaunchCode saw its largest ever year-over-increase in job placements in 2021, exceeding the prior year’s total by 98.
It is through individual resilience that LaunchCoders make their place. And by the resilience of our organization, LaunchCode finds new ways, better ways, more voluminous ways to build bold, accessible pathways for resilient people seeking careers in technology, even in the most challenging moments.
Thank you for being part of our strength last year and for riding with us into the even sunnier skies of 2022.
I was a stay-at-home mom for 20 years. Somebody mentioned LaunchCode and I thought I’d give it a shot. I was blown away by how many people were there and very excited. The diversity in the room was amazing. There is a lot of support and the payoff is so great.— Jennifer Martin, Technology Specialist at
There’s literally limitless potential with the growth [at Freedom Pay] and thanks to LaunchCode I’m not intimidated by it at all, but rather challenged and excited to crush my goals and move up. This is approximately one million miles away from where I was, and where I would have been without LaunchCode.— Alex Raftas, Account Manager at
At first being in the program, I was like ‘oh man I have seven kids, am I really going to make it through this program?’ I just came up with a motto for myself — ‘failure is not an option.’ I stuck with it no matter what I was gonna figure it out and take it to the end. I really did it, with all the obstacles in my way, and I really completed this program.— La Shell Slaughter, Quality Assurance Analyst at H&R Block
LaunchCode has allowed me to do things I didn’t know were possible — like completely change my career path and learn in-demand technical skills, all without spending years on a degree or going into debt. I went from having no coding experience to finishing CodeCamp and landing an apprenticeship at a well-known company, all within a matter of months!— Kara Gruenewald, Test Automation & Engineer at
A year ago, if someone told me I’d be working at Boeing, I wouldn’t believe them, but I do and I owe it to LaunchCode’s belief in me. Being introduced to LaunchCode has been life changing; not only for my career, but for my personal growth. I’ve met amazing people, and teacher assistants who truly want to see you succeed, and I am forever grateful for the program.— Niquelle Johnson, Software Developer at
I wasn’t expecting to get in and when I did it was exciting. Taking the first step is my biggest challenge and walking into a class was that new first step. I’ve been a TA at LaunchCode twice now — I wanted to give back. I’ve been there myself and I wanted to reassure and help out. Adding more successes to the checklist. Changing more lives.— Anastasia Okuonghae, Technology Associate at
In 2021, despite ongoing challenges, LaunchCoders never stopped. While the world was grappling with the lingering effects of the pandemic and trying to find a sense of normalcy in still uncertain times, LaunchCoders forged ahead investing their time and energy into pursuing life-changing career goals. Traditional education paths suffered, with college undergrad enrollment dropping nearly 7% and community college enrollment dropping 13%, curious hard-working people continued to seek out new opportunities with LaunchCode.
We trained talent in new places, including in Charlotte with Centene and in Philadelphia, where a training partnership with Comcast helped boost workers to new heights as software engineers. Our first LC101 Web Development course in Philly broke application records for new markets (846 individuals applied!), showing that the demand for accessible technical education isn’t slowing down any time soon. In Kansas City, we expanded our program focused on increasing the number of workers of marginalized genders in tech for the first time beyond its St. Louis roots with great results.
Mid-year, The Brookings Institute published the first half of a study conducted by Washington University’s Social Policy Institute showing that our efforts to improve retention and completion rates among the most underrepresented groups in technology are working. Their conclusions reflected what we’ve always known to be true drivers of impact: removing artificial barriers such as money and time, spending extra effort to recruit from minority communities, and working with businesses to provide paid apprenticeships as well as reskilling.
Meanwhile, a whole new population of learners were expanding their opportunities with LaunchCode learning — from inside prison walls. The first class of students in our JusTech program graduated, overcoming challenges and obstacles to learn 21st century job skills that will allow them to pursue upwardly-mobile careers, support their families, and contribute to society after re-entry.
132 employers brought new LaunchCoders aboard in 2021, an increase of 12% over last year, as hiring professionals and managers continue to look for valuable traits that LaunchCoders have in spades. Their life skills, varied experiences, drive to learn, and passion for their newfound careers have proven successful with new employers such as this company, this other one, and last one listed.
This year, beyond the tech talent needed to prepare tech teams for the future, we were also excited to present the Shift Tech Transformation Summit. The only summit focused solely on the recruiting, hiring, and skilling landscape of the tech industry, brought together top professionals and thought leaders to share and discuss insights into today’s challenges and solutions. The experts agreed — accessible tech training and apprenticeships are key to turning the “Great Reshuffling” into a great opportunity for businesses.
Whitney, an art history & theater grad, had worked jobs as diverse as teaching English in a foreign country, social media branding, and restaurant management. But, after years in food and hospitality, she knew it wasn’t where she wanted to be forever. With a young child at home and her husband worked multiple jobs during the week, unpredictable schedules meant she was often working long hours on the weekends to stay afloat, though still in a precarious position. At the local cafe where she worked, many of Whitney’s regular customers were in the tech industry. Naturally curious, she started asking about their work. Everyone was happy to share and encouraged her to keep exploring, eventually leading to her starting an unofficial coding club at the cafe. After learning a little bit, Whitney knew she needed something else more challenging and focused to really take off.
When the restaurant industry subsequently collapsed, Whitney was suddenly without a job, her husband’s multiple positions weren’t secure, and the economics were becoming unsustainable. Now more than ever, the need to transition to a career that would keep her off the front lines of serving the public felt imperative.
When Whitney got into LaunchCode’s first all-virtual Women+ data course a few months later, Whitney found a diverse group of women working together in a collaborative, supportive environment. Learning from her peers and Teaching Fellows who used the course skills in their professional careers, the pieces started coming together.
“It was refreshing to be with a group of women who were all trying to change our lives for the better. We all came from such a wide range of backgrounds, but with the same goal, and everyone was really supportive.” —Whitney
As soon as Whitney finished class in the spring of 2021, a LaunchCode hiring partner snapped her up to begin an apprenticeship that same month. Before she knew it, she was working regular hours safely from her home office, doing engaging work that didn’t put her in danger of bringing Covid home, and allowed her the flexibility to be home with her family when needed.
Whitney was placed into an apprenticeship with NISA Investments, who has seen growth and opportunity in LaunchCoders like Whitney for some time. Dan Rothweiler, NISA Investments Associate CTO, has seen many LaunchCoders come in and apply their skills and experience from previous careers to bring something extra to their new teams that individuals fresh out of traditional colleges don’t have. One of NISA’s early hires from LaunchCode was now regularly teaching the data track, and had been Whitney’s group’s Teaching Fellow, completing the circle with her joining the team.
“For somebody coming out of school, we kind of have to lead them into a career path, but because LaunchCode candidates have already had career paths elsewhere, they are able to jump in and provide some value that that other people just couldn’t provide at that level. […] We use staff augmentation firms occasionally, but I’ll tell you that out of all of those, I would say LaunchCode has probably been [our] top source for personnel.” —Dan
Despite Dan’s early hesitation in hiring personnel that don’t have a traditional background with a four-year degree in a technical field, he’s come to appreciate the added value and perspective that career-switchers bring into their new careers. The many LaunchCoders now employed at NISA provide a crucial diversity of experience and opinion that can be hard to find through other means.
“I think what the apprenticeship offers is a base of expectations, where you know that your employer knows where you’re coming from. And they also usually have the experience of having hired previous LaunchCoders. So there’s this sense of reassurance that they know I don’t know everything, they know I’m coming from the restaurant industry, they know I’m new… And the apprenticeship was really everything I had hoped for” — Whitney
Once on the job, Whitney found her team and manager were all very supportive. Having brought aboard LaunchCoders before, they assigned tasks appropriate for her skill level and were constantly building upon it, helping build up her confidence and contributions to the team. Whitney’s creative problem-solving mind was a great fit for her new role, and she found herself loving her new team and the challenges the job brought.
“LaunchCode has had a huge effect on my life and my family’s life, because we now have financial security. [We] have reliable health care, we have a safety net that we didn’t have before. And it’s also allowed my husband to [work fewer] jobs. We have more time together as a family, and there’s just like this overall sense of relief. Knowing that no matter what might happen, we’re going to be okay. […] Having the tech skills and experience It’s really provided so much relief and security for my family.”
“Right now, there’s a lot of discussion about the great resignation, but the talent is out there and people want to work. They just need resources to help them build those skills and the opportunity to be placed with a company so that they can prove themselves. So, I think [LaunchCode] is a great solution.” — Whitney
LaunchCoders have been tremendously successful at VMLY&R. We brought on five LaunchCoders the first year, then ten, now we’re bringing on more than that. That number only grows because we’re having success with the individuals that are here. Our success really looks like each apprentice being successful in their role and career.— Gabby Spurling, Director of Technology at
The partnership we’ve had with LaunchCode has just been tremendous. We’ve had [LaunchCoders] come in at entry-level and seen them excel and exceed our expectations year after year.— Lindsay Padget, Group Technology Director at
[Our apprentice] Rafa is an amazing fit for our role. He jumps in on any issues and wants to learn EVERYTHING! He is always willing to adjust or swap shifts to make sure that the team is supported. Honestly, I cannot think of a single thing he could improve on. I will DEFINITELY be reaching out to LaunchCode for future candidates!— RC Davis, Director of Technology Support at
We couldn’t find the right people, so we started a partnership with LaunchCode and decided if we can’t find it, we will build it. With LaunchCode’s help, we stumbled upon what I would consider a gold mine of talent – highly motivated, very talented people. They were very early on in their careers as software engineers, but when given the right support by our organization, we see them flourishing in a very short amount of time.— Nick Bimpasis, Software Engineering Director at
Having this synergistic relationship with LaunchCode where they are doing a lot of the heavy lifting - and I give them a lot of credit for that - to get the raw talent and some of the diamonds in the rough we would have normally not have received, is extremely valuable to us.— Josh Weaver, Vice President, Software Solutions at
You can take somebody who has a 4-year degree and proficiency in a certain area and it can take them years to learn the mission. Oftentimes the quicker path to get that knowledge is through the military and then have them go through a program like LaunchCode which essentially allows them to apply new skills while still supporting our country’s mission. That’s the real advantage to hiring veterans through programs like LaunchCode.— Eric Druker, Director Data Science & Artificial Intelligence at
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Revenue & Contributions
|Revenue From Direct Contributions||$585,243|
|Donated Goods & Services Revenue||$888,622|
|Revenue From Non-Governmental Grants||$1,967,500|
|Revenue From Government Grants||$2,548,900|
|Revenue From Investments & Other Sources||$35,024|
|Total Income    $16,936,595|
|Apprenticeship, Wages, Taxes & Benefits||$5,908,000|
|Management & General||$1,191,955|
|Total Expenses    $13,520,410|
|Net Profit    $3,416,185|
|Non-Government Philanthropic Support||$3,566,000|
|New Market Tax Credit||$800,000|
|Total Campaign    $4,866,000|
|Capital expenditures as of 3/31/2022||$2,306,826|
|Projected by 12/31/2022||$2,398,174|
|Total Cost    $4,866,000|
Operating Cash Reserves at Year End