BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — A pilot program in Bloomington has graduated its first cohort of coding students. The Mill Code School, which launched in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, is a partnership between nonprofit coworking space The Mill and Wisconsin-based gener8tor designed to upskill Bloomington residents with entry-level coding skills they can use to access better employment options.
The Mill says the program received about 140 applications for 40 spots, which were prioritized for those who were unemployed or underemployed and “not typically represented in tech jobs.” Nearly 30% of applicants were minorities, 20 identified as immigrants, and 20 identified as LGBTQ+, while half of the participants were women.
The school held a virtual graduation ceremony, which included remarks from Bloomington Mayor John Hamilton and Indiana Secretary for Career Connections and Talent Blair Milo.
“This is such a perfect example of another way that Bloomington is continuing to lead the way in the world, with the collaboration you’ve brought together, and the skill set that graduates have learned to become part of an emerging economy,” said Milo.
The Mill says in addition to learning web development, software development and database technologies, the students received technical, resume and interview coaching, virtual access to a peer support network, and interview placement with companies ready to hire.
“Even once the curriculum is done and the participants have graduated, there’s still work to be done including the important work of finding funding and preparing for additional cohorts in 2021,” said Pat East, executive director of The Mill. “We want to build on this success, grow Bloomington’s tech talent pool, and create more opportunities for more citizens to enter the digital economy.”
The pilot program was funded in part by $100,000 investment from the city of Bloomington, which was part of Hamilton’s “Recover Forward” initiative.