BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — Four Kentucky workforce boards have collaborated to offer a 16-week computer coding class for little to no cost for eligible participants. The “Commonwealth Coders” course, which is valued at $15,000, will prepare participants for a career as a junior web developer. The average starting salary for a junior web developer in Kentucky is over $60,000.
The training program, which will debut this fall, is a collaborative effort between the Bluegrass, Cumberlands, Northern Kentucky, and South Central Workforce Boards and will be led by BC Skills Development Academy.
The course was initially piloted between the South Central and Cumberlands Workforce Development Boards as a hybrid effort this spring. The success of that initial venture and the growing demand for web developers– especially ones who can work remotely–led to the course’s expansion.
The course is set to be in a hybrid format for South Central and Cumberland participants while completely virtual for Bluegrass and Northern Kentucky students. Though no previous computer/coding experience is required, solid algebra skills along with a strong determination to succeed are both highly recommended for participants.
Lyndsey Brown, the economic recovery coordinator for both Cumberlands and South Central Workforce Development Board, describes the course as “life-changing.” “I was able to see some participants go from being unemployed to being full-time web developers and other participants go from being underemployed to providing their family with a web developer income,” Brown said.
The course cap is currently set for 50 students. With a combined 48 counties represented by the four boards, that equates to around one student per county, making student selection quite competitive. However, all potential students are highly encouraged to complete an initial no-obligation interest survey.
Justin Browning, project manager for BC Skills Development Academy, said that this type of program is unique in that it helps promote tech jobs in rural areas of the state. “We want to skill up our communities and let them know that it’s possible for rural Kentucky to push out as many innovators as you have coming out of the West Coast,” Browning said. “We can do it, we just have to build that culture.”
For more information or to complete an interest form for the Commonwealth Coders program, visit commonwealthcoders.com