Southwest chosen to debut LaunchCode’s first free computer programming courses in Tennessee

Careers in technology have historically been reserved to those with a four-year degree in computer science or a related field. Thanks to a partnership between LaunchCode and Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR), the Union Avenue Campus will be home to LaunchCode’s LC101 free computer programming courses Monday and Wednesdays, 6-9 p.m. beginning Feb. 4, making Southwest the first Tennessee school to offer the program.  LC101 is a free, part-time, 20-week class available to students of all ages interested in learning technology skills, including coding, web development and other career-oriented expertise.

Associate Vice President for Workforce and Economic Development and Continuing Education Anita Brackin says this partnership will provide more Tennesseans the opportunity to learn computer programming skills and gain upwardly-mobile, entry-level jobs in technology. “This is an excellent addition to our workforce development curriculum, one that will enable anyone who wants to sharpen the saw and gain the necessary skills to not only compete for the jobs of today, but also to perform them with confidence and competence,” Brackin said.

Based in St. Louis, Mo., LaunchCode is a national non-profit organization with a mission to build a skilled workforce in the cities it occupies by creating pathways for driven people seeking careers in technology.

“LaunchCode's model has been successful around the country, delivering skills-based curriculum to thousands of motivated people at no cost to them," said LaunchCode Executive Director Jeff Mazur. “Tennessee is rich with entrepreneurship and innovation and we at LaunchCode are excited about providing aspiring coders in Memphis with the tools to succeed in a high-demand, rewarding industry,” Mazur added.

 “As the technology industry across Tennessee continues to grow, so does the need for a larger workforce to fill the increasing number of tech jobs in our state,” said Margaret Dolan, CEO & President of LaunchTN. LaunchTN is a public-private partnership that fosters entrepreneurship, with the goal of making Tennessee the most startup-friendly state in the nation. “LaunchCode’s presence in Memphis will not only offer a fantastic opportunity for individuals looking to develop skills that can help them build careers, but it will also strengthen Tennessee’s talent pipeline, bolstering entrepreneurship across the state,” Dolan added.

TBR helped LaunchTN bring LaunchCode to the state by introducing the program to Southwest Community College. Not only did TBR play a large role in selecting the pilot site in Tennessee, but the organization will also continue to guide the program in the state by advising on and securing future LaunchCode campuses.

For more information or to apply for LC101 at Southwest Community College in Memphis, visit https://www.launchcode.org/lc101 and select ‘Memphis, TN’ from the dropdown menu.