Free Coding Academy Seeks Applicants

TurlockJournal.com (Apr 21, 2020)

April 21, 2020 - As Bay Area tech companies plan expansions amid a shortage of properly-trained talent, a new partnership between Turlock Adult School and a Modesto-based code academy is aiming to attract high-paying employers to the Central Valley.

Bay Valley Tech was established in 2017 with one goal in mind, President Phillip Lan said — offer state-of-the-art training to future software programmers for free while working to expand the Valley’s fast-growing technology hub. Turlock Adult School now joins the Stanislaus County Office of Education, which recently also announced their partnership with Bay Valley Tech, to remove barriers for local residents who often find it challenging to acquire the latest skills that tech companies seek.

Vital collaborations like these, along with backing from corporate sponsors, greatly increase student capacity at Bay Valley Tech, Lan said, accelerating software development training in the region and thus enticing large tech employers to invest in the Valley.

“I understand what will bring these tech firms to the Central Valley and it’s a critical, large pool of tech talent that needs to be available,” Lan said. “If we can get to that point here, those tech companies will be coming here and bringing jobs this way.”

Bay Valley Tech’s next round of free classes will begin July 6, and those interested are encouraged to apply as soon as possible. The software training program allows code academy students to learn new programming skills through flexible online courses, peer-based tutoring and weekly in-person classes — coronavirus restrictions have forced all classes online, however — where they have opportunities to network with local software professionals and hiring managers. Bay Valley Tech has also partnered with local companies to provide software professionals as code academy mentors and paid internships for top program graduates.

According to Lan, Bay Valley Tech has already trained about 100 students to date, some of whom have been hired to help with software programming at companies like E&J Gallo Winery and other tech companies in downtown Modesto.

“There are a lot of companies that are hiring and need tech workers, and a lot of non-tech companies need a lot of software programmers, like Foster Farms, Hilmar Cheese and Save Mart — they’re all companies that find it important to have automated systems and software,” Lan said. “They can’t run efficiently and won't grow fast enough if there’s an absence of tech talent.”

Not only are most tech jobs high-paying, he added, but many allow employees to work remotely, meaning a software programmer could live in the Central Valley but be making a Bay Area salary. During the coronavirus pandemic remote jobs have been the norm and those stuck at home with plenty of time on their hands may also be inspired to take a coding class.

“I see this as a once-in-a-generation opportunity for a lot of folks in our area to get into the field,” Lan said.

While plenty of Turlock Adult School students have already taken Bay Valley Tech coding classes, the new partnership will provide a Turlock location for students to meet once stay-at-home orders are lifted.

“We are excited about joining forces with Bay Valley Tech to benefit area residents through this fast-tracked, low-barrier training program,” Turlock Adult School principal Linda Alaniz said. “Code academy graduates will have access to high-tech jobs that are in great demand and will play a key role in growing our local economy.”

Hundreds have already applied to take part in the next round of classes, Lan said. Similar courses in the Bay Area can cost up to $20,000. While space is limited, sponsorships could provide expanded cohorts. Those interested in applying can visit https://www.bayvalleytech.com/code-academy-application. Companies or other parties interested in learning more about sponsorship opportunities with Bay Valley Tech’s code academy or providing scholarships to help local students can contact martyn@bayvalleytech.com.

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