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ST. LOUIS (KSDK) - In the next 10 years, there's expected to be an explosion of lucrative technology jobs, more than 2 million, according to The Bureau of Labor Statistics. Computer skills, especially writing computer code, are in demand. Entrepreneur Mike Palmer, a former teacher, says it's time St. Louis grows its own computer workforce. His solution: The Code Red Computer Language Program.

"It aims to teach skills in computer science as well as train students to go into IT careers and tech jobs after high school," Palmer said. "Entry level IT jobs are available, paying $45,000 and up."

Wednesday afternoon, Palmer was preparing two Cahokia High school teachers who plan to start an after-school program using his Code Red curriculum. As St. Louis continues to launch technology companies, Palmer's goal for Code Red is to supply a steady stream of high school graduates who are certified to earn entry level I-T jobs.

"Some people describe the lack of talent as a tech desert," Palmer said, "so it's very much needed as we continue to grow as a tech city. We need to start training our workforce."

Parkway is one of the school districts using The Code Red curriculum, which teaches computer skills from early elementary through high school. At Fern Ridge High School, teacher Paul Schwent said teaching his students computer skills that are in demand is exciting.

"What's great about the Code Red program is they work with an employment agency called Extra Help, who will try to get these guys jobs," Schwent said.

The Code Red curriculum is divided into four stages: early elementary, late elementary, middle school, and high school. High school students can test for A+ computer certification, which would qualify them for entry level IT jobs.

Palmer and Schwent envision a time when St. Louis tech companies will rely less on hiring employees outside of St. Louis.

"They won't have to look elsewhere, they don't have to look outside the city to find what they need," Schwent said. "They can hire local. It just gives them a greater crop of folks to look at, to choose from, qualified candidates for these technical positions."

For more information about Code Red, www.CodeRedEducation.com.

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