President Obama’s visit to Louisville last week highlighting the city’s tech training program has led to a major spike in Code Louisville’s enrollment.
More than 600 people are in the pipeline for upcoming tech classes, according to Rider Rodriguez with Kentuckiana Works. That’s compared to about 300 people in the most recent group, and just 70 people in the first incarnation of Code Louisville.
Code Louisville is the city’s free 12-week online coding workshop that anyone with a Louisville Free Public Library card can access. The program first got attention when Obama mentioned it in a gathering with the National League of Cities in March.
Rodriguez said the president’s visit is what really made interest in Code Louisville peak.
“There is nothing like having the president actually coming to visit to focus everyone’s attention,” he said.
Since then, Rodriguez said people have been steadily signing up every day—including people from outside the Louisville Metro area.
Rodriguez said people from Indiana, Tennessee and Kansas have asked to join the program. Officials are trying to figure out whether it’s even feasible right now for people to take Code Louisville classes remotely.
The White House recently launched its TechHire Initiative, which is an effort to get local and federal forces to fill the country’s tech skills gap.
About half-a-million information technology jobs remain unfilled in the U.S.—including about 2,000 in the Louisville area—because employers can’t find people with the necessary skills to fill those jobs.
Louisville’s effort to address the issue has attracted interest from leaders in other cities.
“We are one of the 21 total TechHire area,” Rodriguez explained, “we’ve definitely been having interest from other cities in terms of figuring out how to replicate this effort elsewhere.”
Following the president’s visit, the city also announced it had added two new partnerships to Code Louisville.