Code Louisville expands offerings in wake of presidential visit - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Code Louisville expands offerings in wake of presidential visit and widespread attention

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Twice a week for the last several months, a group of teenagers have been learning to code through a new youth program. Twice a week for the last several months, a group of teenagers have been learning to code through a new youth program.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A free city program that teaches people how to code -- the focus of President Obama's visit to Louisville Thursday -- is being expanded to help develop a generation of computer engineers in Louisville. 

The Beecher Terrace public housing complex is often associated with crime and violence, but thanks to the resources in Code Louisville, it's finally garnering attention for something positive.

Twice a week for the last several months, a group of teenagers have been learning to code through a new youth program.

Justin Jones is a freshman at Ballard High School. He comes to the class in the Russell neighborhood on his own time.

"Creating a website, I can make people's dreams come true, make my own dreams come true," he said. "I want to work at media companies like Google, Bing, Yahoo, places like that, and hopefully make people connect to people."

During the five month program, the teens build a website and receive help from local software engineers -- all free of charge. By this summer, they'll be placed in paid internships with local businesses in need of tech help.

"What we heard from those businesses was, give me an answer. Give me something affordable and if we can connect it to younger people -- who a $1,000 could be transformational money -- we think there's an obvious opportunity there," Ted Smith, with Metro Louisville, said.

It's an opportunity for a demographic that's grossly under-represented in the tech field.

"It would be a wonderful thing if the technology industry looked just like the greater population," Code Louisville's Rider Rodriguez said. "There's no reason it shouldn't, so we're going to make an active effort to reach out to everyone."

Since 2014 more than 160 people of all ages have started Code Louisville sessions and The Learning House, a data company, has committed to bringing an intensive coding “bootcamp” to Louisville later this year.

“The addition of boot camp sessions and the ability for people to turn hands-on skills into college credit will greatly expand the reach and effectiveness of this critical effort and help us become a full-spectrum, model city for tech training,” Mayor Greg Fischer said.

Another new partnership for the program is with Jefferson Community & Technical College, which will provide graduates with credit equivalency for certificates and degrees.

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