Teaching technology, enhanced lives and building local economies


I had the true pleasure of meeting Ryan Neal, the Director of Targeted Training at LaunchCode, a different kind of training company that helps people enhance their lives by teaching them programming skills and then assisting them find employment through paid apprenticeships, direct job placement, company-sponsored training programs and other related activities.

They began in St. Louis, MO, but now operate in various cities that have a combination of underemployed, an abundance of low wage workers, high unemployment and a shortage of technology job applicants.  The applicants they select for their foundational programming classes in Java, Python, C Sharp and other leading technologies is based on the applicant’s true desire to improve themselves and an aptitude for logical and algorithmic thought.  While transferable skills are a plus, they are not required.

Matching students with learning opportunities…and careers

I was asked to teach my five-day “Soft Skills for Agile Product Owners” class for LaunchCode through the training company LearnQuest, who I’ve teamed up with on various training deals over the years.  LearnQuest is an impressive company with global reach, providing technical training to our country’s technology industry icons, like IBM and Apple.  They told me this client, however, was different and very special.  Through LearnQuest, I was given this opportunity as part of a larger Agile program, taught at LaunchCode’s St. Louis location.  Because this program was request of a specific company, all the students had jobs waiting for them when the program ended.

The people in my class were of various backgrounds, education levels, ages, ethnicities and work experience.  They all, however, had a strong desire to learn, were extraordinary individuals and were a pleasure to instruct.  While at LaunchCode’s training facility, I also had the opportunity to observe one of their public programming classes and the graduation ceremony of one of their cohorts.  Wow, all I can say is wow, it was inspiring to watch.

Upon completion of the class I was teaching, I asked them what I could do to further their cause of providing technology training as way to help people enhance their lives, increase local economic development, and assist companies in finding the local talent they need to grow their local presents and corporate profitability.  It was this conversation that led me to write this post on their behalf.

During a phone discussion with Ryan, I asked him for a couple of examples of people who graduated from their programs.  I was interested in knowing their stories.  Ryan told me about Mike, Jose, Yuan and Ben.



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