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St. Louis tech training organization sees applicants from the 'great resignation'

LaunchCode is accepting applications for the January LC101 class through Dec. 5. The free, part-time training program launches in January and runs for twenty weeks.

ST. LOUIS — When the pandemic triggered furloughs, firings, and layoffs, Jessi Wilcox said LaunchCode, a tech-sector training organization, fielding applications from a lot of those employees who were affected the most.

"They were telling stories about how their job in the service industry or their job as a barista or a bartender," she said of some applicants. "They no longer saw them as realistic options for long-term careers."

As economists talk of the 'great resignation' with record numbers of people leaving their jobs, Wilcox said they're helping train them for new fields.

"Even in 2020 when you hear about all these people who are losing, their jobs because of the pandemic, we were still able to place over 200 people into tech careers," Wilcox said.

With a background as a business analyst, Jason Wilson just graduated from the program Monday. He said he spent about two decades dabbling with computer building and hardware but had no prior coding or software experience.

"You would be amazed at how many doors have opened," he said. "I've actually started my own LLC and already have four projects less than 48 hours removed from my graduation."

Wilcox said there are a lot of preconceived notions about tech but the free program is open to people of all ages and backgrounds.

Wilson said making the shift really requires time, patience, and dedication. He says launching a new career can be daunting, but he knows from experience it was worth the leap.

"You know you don't know how cold the water is until you jump into it," he said. "But as a swimmer, I know that if you jump in cold water eventually your body gets used to it."

LaunchCode is accepting applications for the January LC101 class through Dec. 5. The free, part-time training program launches in January and runs for twenty weeks.