[This article was originally posted in the Glasgow Daily Times]
Barren County High School is now recruiting students and adults to enter an app development training program in partnership with Interapt Skills. The program will begin in August and will operate from 8 a.m.-3 p.m. until the end of the semester at the new career center on Trojan Campus. The training program is targeted to any student who will graduate in just a few days in addition to those who will graduate in the next school year. Furthermore, young adults will asked to apply for this training program as a means of “skilling up” the regional workforce.
“This opportunity is now possible due to the vision of Barren County Schools and collaborative efforts of philanthropists across the Commonwealth who see a need to diversify the workforce in the Barren River Region by creating a training program for high wage, high demand jobs.” stated Bo Matthews, superintendent of Barren County Schools. “Barren County is leading the Commonwealth by having such a wonderful pipeline to apprenticeships in Computer Science. Beginning with coding in elementary school, continuing to middle and high school with opportunities with AP Computer Science and other tech related pathways, we can now take this momentum to the next level.”
Interapt’s coding program focuses on a rigorous introduction to computer science fundamentals, software engineering principles and mobile development for either Android or IOS. Adult and student participants will learn about object-oriented programming, systems design, the software development life cycle, mobile frameworks, and how to deploy applications to the app stores.
“We at Interapt Skills are excited to partner with Barren County and to bring our IT Apprenticeship program to the region. At the end of our program we are hoping for one of three outcomes: One, that they would choose to pursue Computer Science as a career and continue their education in college. Two, that they exit the program job-ready and are immediately involved in an apprenticeship. Or three, that any aspiring tech entrepreneurs are provided a great foundation to build on. We have been believers that our Apprenticeship approach can help the Commonwealth by creating net new jobs and opportunities in the tech economy, and are very excited to be in Barren County,” stated Interapt CEO Ankur Gopal.
“We are now in the recruiting and application phase, as we will be over the next two months.” stated Amy Irwin, District College and Career coordinator. “But this project has been in progress since we partnered with local industry to create a Vision Team for Barren County, to help identify how to strengthen educational programs to help meet regional workforce needs.
“Barren County Vision Teams from local business, industry, and school systems, along with the KY Education and Workforce Development Cabinet have identified priority workforce sectors based on economic trends and data. The Interapt Skills program will be a catalyst in building a regional technology workforce to address needs in the priority sector of information technology. The project will be the first hybrid of its kind in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, training both secondary students and adults.”
“By adding this program to Barren County Schools, we are trying to create a trained workforce to attract business to the community and retain the current and future citizens to enter the workforce with a high-paying job. The ultimate destination for a student, no matter what further education pathway they choose, is a career. We want our students to be prepared for that!” stated CheyAnne Fant, director of 21st Century Community Programs & Nutrition Services.
Could this program be a part of the underemployment and poverty solution? Justin Browning, BC Computer Sciences teacher, stated “the average salary for a computing occupation in Kentucky is $72,202, which is significantly higher than the average salary in the state, $41,760 according to statistics from Code.org.”
Browning, who was invited to be trained by Code.org last summer in Houston and by Apple in Silicon Valley, jumped at the opportunity so he could help develop his computer science students.
“Computing jobs are the number one source of all new wages in the U.S. and make up over half of all projected new jobs in the STEM fields. My thought is that the business is going to go somewhere. Why not Kentucky? Why not Barren County?” Browning commented.
“Making this happen in our community is a step in the right direction for training our workforce and attracting jobs to this area,” stated Browning. “I know we have adults and students who are ready for this challenge, and I hope that all those who are interested will apply online.”