A new federal grant will bring coding boot camps to Seattle Central College aimed at people without college degrees. The grant also will bring apprenticeships and new degrees in a growing field called mechatronics to five other colleges as well.
Everyone’s heard how Seattle’s hottest companies are constantly scrambling to fill high-tech job openings. A new federal grant aims to ease the shortage — with free coding boot camps for people without college degrees.
On Monday, Seattle Central College won a $3.8 million grant to help students take coding courses that result in paid apprenticeships in Seattle-area startup companies.
The program is expected to reach more than 700 people over a four-year period, with a focus on unemployed people under 30.
The college will partner with LaunchCode, a St. Louis nonprofit. LaunchCode will assess what kind of training the new students need and create apprenticeships with local companies.
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Part of LaunchCode’s work is “to convince employers that people who don’t have a four-year degree in computer science are worth taking on,” said Andrea Samuels, interim dean of workforce education at Seattle Central College.
The Seattle Central coding camp is part of a package of $150 million grants released Monday by the Obama administration called TechHire Partnerships.
At Seattle Central, students will get help with preparatory math and logic courses. The coding course itself, offered through LaunchCode online, is based on an online introductory computer-science class taught by Harvard University.
Seattle Central also will teach some coding coursework as part of the program, and may also offer the boot camp in person on the Seattle campus, Samuels said.
One of the goals of the partnership is to help students who also want to earn a two-year degree or bachelor’s of applied science degree at Seattle Central, she said.
The program is expected to begin this fall. When students begin apprenticeships, they’ll make at least $15 an hour, with a goal of getting them into $50,000-a-year jobs, Samuels said.
LaunchCode started as an experiment three years ago to persuade companies to take on “talented job candidates typically overlooked by HR departments,” Executive Director Brendan Lind, said in a statement. “Four hundred apprenticeships later, we have shown our model works.”
Students who are interested in the program should submit an application through LaunchCode’s website at https://www.launchcode.org/apply
The federal grants announced Monday also include a $3.9 million grant for five community colleges to partner with the Center of Excellence for Aerospace and Advanced Manufacturing, which facilitates the growth of aerospace-manufacturing jobs.
The grant will pay for equipment, career coaches, curriculum development and faculty training for three new degree programs in mechatronics — a melding of mechanical and electronic technology used by advanced manufacturers such as Boeing.
The grant will offer training for more than 600 students, said John Olson, vice president of college advancement for Everett Community College. Everett, Shoreline, North Seattle, Renton Tech and South Seattle colleges will share in the grant, and industry partners include Boeing, Royell Manufacturing, Ellison Technologies and Hexcel.
“This is a great example of how our community-college system works with government and industry to help address the current and anticipated demand for skilled workers in the advanced-manufacturing field throughout the Puget Sound region,” Olson said via email.
Both of Washington’s senators, Democrats Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, helped secure the federal grant funding. Murray said the partnership would “equip students and job seekers with skills that are in demand, and at the same time, help employers find high-quality, diverse talent.”