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In August, the Efactory will host the first cohort of Code Labs, a skills-based software developer program for adults seeking entry-level development roles.
SBJ file
In August, the Efactory will host the first cohort of Code Labs, a skills-based software developer program for adults seeking entry-level development roles.

Innovate SOMO programs to launch in August

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The sites have been revealed for a pair of technology-centered programs that are part of a recently announced regional network to spur digital workforce and economic development in Missouri.

The Efactory, Missouri State University’s business incubator, and various locations operated by Boys and Girls Clubs of Springfield, along with several schools in the Queen City and Branson area, will host programs beginning in August developed by Cape Girardeau-based technology incubator Codefi LLC. The rollout for the programs was announced at a Thursday event hosted by the Efactory.

The event was the second in as many months featuring Efactory and Codefi officials, as the organizations previously unveiled the launch of the Southern Missouri Innovation Network, dubbed Innovate SOMO, in Cape Girardeau, according to past Springfield Business Journal reporting. The network’s objective is to accelerate digital workforce development and job creation and to support the growth of new technology companies in 47 counties.

Codefi programs set to expand late this summer and fall in southern Missouri include Code Labs, a skills-based software developer training program for adults seeking entry-level development roles, and Youth Coding League, a co-curricular education program that introduces fifth through eighth graders to computer science and coding.

Code Labs’ program includes courses that cover front-end, back-end and database development, ensuring graduates have a well-rounded skillset and are prepared to enter the workforce. Its front-end development course in Springfield is set for Aug. 15-Dec. 16 on Monday and Thursday evenings at the Efactory, according to a news release.

The program is available to working adults with no prior technology background or education. Up to 30 people are admitted per cohort, and the program is free to participants, according to officials. The release didn’t provide enrollment information for the programs and Efactory officials were unavailable for comment by deadline.

“We believe we can build better things together that will benefit our region and state,” Codefi co-founder James Stapleton said in the release. “We have seen firsthand the incredible impact of these programs and are excited to bring them to Springfield. By connecting and combining our collective talents and resources across the region and state, we can scale up the delivery of innovative workforce and business development programs and investments that will accelerate the growth of high-wage jobs and the businesses and organizations who create them.”

Youth Coding League is an after-school program for middle school and junior high school students. It uses Google’s CS First curriculum and the Scratch programming language. Through a partnership with the local Boys & Girls Clubs nonprofit, eight sites will have access to the program when the next school year begins in the fall, according to the release.

The designated Boys & Girls Clubs sites are:
• Fremont Unit at Fremont Elementary School;
• Henderson Unit at Grant Beach Park;
• McGregor Unit at McGregor Elementary School;
• Musgrave Unit at Zagonyi Park;
• O’Reilly Unit at Williams Elementary School;
• Sertoma Unit at Sherwood Elementary School;
• Stalnaker Unit at Smith Park; and
• Teen Program Team .

“We are beyond excited for this partnership,” Boys & Girls Club CEO Brandy Harris said in the release. “It gives our club members the opportunity to engage in a meaningful, innovative program. Youth Coding League’s mission aligns with the mission of the club, and we can’t wait to work together to provide equitable access to opportunity for the kids who need us most.”

Additionally, four other schools are set to host Youth Coding League programs this fall: Buchanan Intermediate School and Cedar Ridge Intermediate School, both in Branson;, and Hickory Hills Middle School and Pershing Middle School, both in Springfield.

When fully funded and implemented, Innovate SOMO is estimated to create over 700 jobs in high-wage occupations, including cybersecurity and software development, as well as launch over 150 new businesses in its first three years, according to officials.

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