A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

‘Commonwealth Coders’ is 16-week training course preparing for Junior Web Developer position

“Commonwealth Coders,” a 16-week training course that prepares participants for a career as a Junior Web Developer, will debut across the state this fall as a collaborative effort between the Bluegrass, Cumberlands, Northern Kentucky and South Central Workforce Boards.

The course, led by BC Skills Development Academy, 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.

In Northern Kentucky, a partnership with United Way of Greater Cincinnati will further support those candidates who qualify with financial stipends and a grant received by the NKY Workforce Investment Board will allow each student to use a new Macbook Pro laptop during their time in the program.

The course is set to be in a hybrid format for South Central and Cumberlands participants while completely virtual for Bluegrass and Northern Kentucky students. While no previous computer/coding experience is required, solid algebra skills along with a strong determination to succeed are both highly recommended for participants.

The training, valued at around $15,000 total, will be offered at little to no cost to those who are eligible, including many individuals who have lost their job due to the pandemic. After a student completes the course, they will be ready to enter the workforce as a Junior Web Developer, a job with an average starting salary of over $60,000 in Kentucky.

Lyndsey Brown, Economic Recovery Coordinator for both Cumberlands and South Central Workforce Development Board, describes the course as “life-changing” explaining, “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.”

The course cap is currently set for 50 students total. 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. Browning explains, “We want to skill up our communities and let them know that it’s possible for Kentucky to push out as many innovators as you have coming out of the west coast. 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, please visit www.commonwealthcoders.com. Contact Tara Johnson-Noem, Director tara.noem@nkadd.org or call 859-609-1803.

The Northern Kentucky Workforce Investment Board drives innovative policy and directs funding for workforce development through strong community partnerships to promote engaged employers, skilled jobseekers and collective impact in an eight-county area serving Boone, Campbell, Carroll, Grant, Gallatin, Kenton, Owen and Pendleton Counties.

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