Companies looking for more talent to sustain St. Louis tech boom

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by Diana Zoga / News 4

KMOV.com

Posted on October 9, 2013 at 5:56 PM

Updated Thursday, Oct 10 at 8:06 AM

 (KMOV) -- As St. Louis puts itself on the map as a technology hub, local companies say they are still in need of experienced computer programmers. 

In an effort to find a solution, Jim McKelvey (co-founder of the Square payment system) began a new initiative called LaunchCode

Last month, News 4 reported that 100 companies were participating in the LaunchCode mentoring program.  Since then, McKelvey says 20 people have been placed.  About 20 more were put in “study teams” to brush up on their programming skills.  But, still more qualified applicants are needed. 

“We have companies that need workers and people who need jobs, so let’s make a match,” said McKelvey.

From there, McKelvey began working with the Metropolitan Education and Training Center in Wellston.  Director Carolyn Seward tapped into her database of students who know at least one programming language and are willing to learn more.

Seward began referring students to LaunchCode.  None have been placed so far, but the partnership, she says, has a future.

“We want to deliver the computer programming curriculum here.  We want to be able to continue to refer and have individuals ready for those jobs where the employers call Jim and say, ‘Listen, we have 50 job openings’.  Jim will call the MET Center and we will have 50 to 100 people ready to go out,” said Seward.

“It’s a natural fit.  We should do this.  We have all the skills, we have all the training resources, and we have the companies.  It’ll all work out and we’re proving it right now.  LaunchCode is working,” said McKelvey.

 

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