Base Camp Coding Academy
Base Camp Coding Academy in rural Mississippi is expanding its successful software development career training program to serve a greater and more diverse population of youth and adults.
Since 2016, Base Camp Coding Academy has created a pipeline for under-advantaged youth in rural Mississippi to access careers in software development. Base Camp Coding Academy provides a year-long program where recent high school graduates train to become software engineers. Free for students, this program provides the fundamentals of coding, application development, and professional skills — all of which are necessary for success in future coding careers.
Software development is needed in various business sectors, and jobs can be done virtually anywhere with a stable internet connection. This means program graduates have an in-demand skillset and the option to continue to live in their communities while working remote jobs that keep their talent in the Valley. The Coding Academy is popular with the business community as well. In fact, Base Camp Coding Academy boasts a 95% post-graduation employment rate!
Over the course of this pilot project, Base Camp Coding Academy will continue to teach and train rural students in software development with the added focus on expanding their program to serve more diverse student groups. This more diverse student population reaches beyond recent high school students to include those with prior work experience, veterans and adults looking for a career change. The expanded program offering at Base Camp Coding Academy will require new staff, updated curriculum design, new training strategy development and refined classroom teaching skills.
By updating the strategies and curriculum for their program, Base Camp Coding Academy will ensure that what is taught in the classroom is still relevant for every graduate to achieve technical proficiency and employment success. The result will be an operational training program with alumni outcomes that inspire prospective students, employers and other communities as well as a playbook for success in other locations.
The key metric for success is the percentage of employed graduates.
Base Camp Coding Academy will document methods, resources and support that benefit students to create a repeatable, flexible and responsive playbook for other communities looking to create their own workforce development program for area youth.
“I love programming, computers, and everything related to the field; I always have, even before I properly had the words to express that interest... Unfortunately, “traditional” education from a University is a costly endeavor, and the Base Camp Coding Academy Graduate Institute presents the perfect opportunity to grow my skills in programming, attain a proper education, and to learn to work with others in my field, all tuition-free."
“Attending the Base Camp Coding Academy Graduate Institute means I can give myself more room to grow and expose a side of my potential I haven’t seen. It means that I can take advantage of my intelligence and prove to myself that a child of immigrant parents really has an opportunity."
“The Base Camp Coding Academy Graduate Institute is accomplishing one of the most well-needed functions of society right now — providing free, helpful education that can improve a hard working individual’s ability to land employment. The world is full of smart, hard working people who just can’t seem to get their foot in the door, be it financial troubles, lack of opportunity, or otherwise no skills that employers seem to be looking for. This institute is working hard to provide exactly what the people need, and what they need is opportunities to let their prowess shine. I am interested in Base Camp Coding Academy Graduate Institute because of its heartfelt goal, its extensive curriculum, and its ability to change my future to how I’ve always imagined it. This institute has the potential to change the lives of many, including my own, and I am struck by the care for community that it deeply shows."
Key Levers for Success
Base Camp Coding Academy is successful due to local business buy-in, a strong curriculum shaped by technology companies, and motivated students. While each community is different, Base Camp Coding Academy recognized a need in the business community and created a program to develop local talent to fill jobs in the technology sector.
The strong community support and quality education provided by the program help this organization continue to evolve and provide even more future software developers for this region. The updated outreach strategies, curriculum, and training will help Base Camp Coding
Academy find students who truly want to participate in an innovative training program, increase student engagement and help ensure the program continues to be relevant for students and local businesses.
Base Camp Coding Academy has an active board comprised of volunteer members who are local leaders in the business and technology sectors and have decades of experience. The board leads curriculum development, admissions, quarterly evaluations, and business partner relations. Additionally, Base Camp Coding Academy has three staff members who are involved in the day-to-day operations of the program.
Base Camp Coding Academy staff:
- Sean Ennis, director
- Brittany Cohen, technical director
- Corey Mize, director of outreach, admissions, and placement
Base Camp Coding Academy Graduate Institute (Phase 2) staff:
- Briana Talley, director
- Tom Greenway, technical director devices and will help in digital literacy training sessions.
Next Steps / Timeline
Below is the pilot project timeline:
September 2022 Open House
Water Valley, Mississippi
$600,000 ($394,000 TVA Connected Communities funding; $206,000 in matching funds)
- Base Camp Coding Academy
- Tennessee Valley Authority