Mississippi coding academy preparing high-school graduates for full-time careers

Coding academy teaching Mid-Southerners new skills

WATER VALLEY, Miss. (WMC) - Going from high school to a full-time career, it’s what a coding academy in Mississippi has helped over 90% of its graduates do. Many of them are employed right here in the Bluff City.

Coding has become a marketable skill with increasing job opportunities.

Base Camp Coding Academy, stationed in Water Valley, Mississippi just south of Oxford, aims to give recent high school grads a shot at careers in the Software Development industry.

“A free, fully scholarship-ed, one-year full-time coding academy for under advantaged, rural youth,” said Bethany Cooper, a founding board member.

She says the purpose of creating the program was to help students and businesses looking to hire.

“We knew that there were students slipping through the cracks. There weren’t making it to college for whatever reason -- they didn’t have the mentors, they didn’t have the funds,” said Cooper. “We saw this as an opportunity to really help those students. And those of us who founded the program all come from corporate, so we were all struggling to hire talent in the area. We realized this was an opportunity to do that.”

For a year, students will spend 40 hours a week learning to code, simulating a real-world work environment. They also learn professional skills needed to land jobs.

The academy has created a “pipeline” of employment with companies like C-Spire in Mississippi and FedEx in Memphis.

“These students end up being software developers,” said Cooper. “In many cases, they’re making well over $50,000 a year coming out of this program with no loans to pay back and amazing careers ahead of them.”

Students are currently taking classes at Base Camp Coding Academy’s new facility while adhering to COVID-19 protocol. The Academy is getting ready to accept a new crop of students, with the nomination process kicking off in January 2021.

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