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LaunchCode expands programming into high schools with new pilot program

The workforce development nonprofit has established the LCHS Pilot Program, which is designed to create and teach a new computer science curriculum
Credit: SLBJ
Jeff Mazur, executive director of LaunchCode

ST. LOUIS — St. Louis-based nonprofit LaunchCode, which provides technology training and places aspiring computer programmers in apprenticeships and jobs, has launched a new pilot program to expand its footprint to local high schools.

The workforce development nonprofit has established the LCHS Pilot Program, which is designed to create and teach a new computer science curriculum to high school juniors and seniors in Missouri.

LaunchCode founded the program with more than $200,000 in funding from the Bayer Fund and additional backing from AT&T. The pilot involves working with six teachers, each from different St. Louis-area high schools, who received training from LaunchCode over the summer and began teaching the nonprofit's curriculum at the start of the 2020-'21 school year. High schools involved in the pilot program include Vashon, Gateway STEM, Confluence Academy, KIPP St. Louis, Affton and Rosati-Kain.

LaunchCode established its LCHS Pilot Program in response House Bill 3, an education bill passed in 2018 by the Missouri General Assembly. The legislation set up a statewide science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) career awareness program and established new curriculum requirements for computer science education.

“This legislation is an important step in the direction of preparing a workforce with skills that better align with the needs of our increasingly-digital workforce,” said Jeff Mazur, LaunchCode’s executive director. “The issue, however, is that there is a lack of accessible and affordable ways for schools to equip teachers with industry-relevant computer science curriculum. That’s where LaunchCode is stepping in.”

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