Signups now open for local coding academy

By: Mariel Carbone | WCTV Eyewitness News
August 1, 2017

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- Applications are now open for I/O Avenue, a coding academy sponsored by the Mayor's Office, Domi Station and Florida A&M University.

"This program is really critical in the sense that we're trying to train the folks right now who are looking to go into the tech field with the knowledge and the tools and the skills that they need to walk into jobs that exist today," said Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum.

The program is aimed at bridging the disconnect between a growing tech sector and a workforce lacking the skills to fill those positions. Participants will learn skills including software language, development processes and more.

Gillum said two different tracks are being offered.

One focuses on job training for those who have no prior tech background and come from underrepresented or economically challenged communities. That's called the "On Ramp" course and is considered the introductory course. It'll be held Monday and Wednesday's from 5 to 7 p.m. That course is $500.

The second is for those who have a background in STEM fields but want to enhance their skills. The "Highway" course is considered more advanced and runs Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 5 to 8 p.m. The cost is $6,000.

"Those parallel tracks I think are going to be really critical for folks who are right now a little, 'I don't really know coding, I don't know that I have the skills.' We want to demystify that," he said.

The programs are both based with potential employers in mind.

"We said, 'What are you looking for? What are you missing in the applicants that are coming to you? And if you had your druthers, what kind of training would you have your applicants arrive day one with so then you could put them to work and have relative confidence that this is an industry and a field that they're going to work well in,'" said Gillum.

20 applicants will be accepted per track, with classes running September through December. Loans are available through the Leon County Credit Union. And the Mayor's Office will offer several

The deadline to apply is August 15. Classes begin on September 18.

To apply, visit

By: Mariel Carbone
May 17, 2017

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV)—Currently in Tallahassee there are about 500 open jobs in the field of technology. In the Big Bend area, that number jumps to 1,500.

“We began surveying businesses to determine ‘where is the gap?’ ‘what’s the disconnect between you being about to hire new talent and these folks saying they can’t find a job?’” said Mayor Andrew Gillum.

That disconnect: a growing tech sector and a work force lacking the skills to fill those positions. The Mayor’s Office, along with Domi Station and Florida A&M University, is now working to fill that gap, launching I/O Avenue, a code academy based in Tallahassee.

"We want folks to know that they can take part in this new economy as well; in this economy that says you've got to have some additional technical skills if you want to land that job that you want that pays you a good wage,” said Gillum.

The code academy will teach the unemployed, underemployed and economically challenged the basic web skills needed to work in today’s tech environment including software language and development processes. Following the course, program directors will assist with job placement and employment.

Organizers said there is a wide variety of jobs that require a coding background.

"You can get into almost anything,” said Tim Moore, Vice President for Research at FAMU. “You can get into mobile app development, you can be in actual medical coding, which we know there is a big shortfall in the US economy, to also supporting in cyber security."

The program will offer two specific tracks. One, which focuses on teaching those with no STEM related background. And a second, which will assist those who are from STEM fields, but are looking to further their skills.

Katie Russ, a lead developer with the local software company Cuttlesoft said a program like this can even be helpful for people coming right out of a college with an education in coding.

"The technologies in use are constantly changing and they're evolving much more rapidly than an institution can necessarily adapt,” she said.

The program will kick off in the fall, and run for twelve weeks. Eight to twelve students will be accepted per class, with the classes beginning on a rolling basis. Classes will take place at FAMU’s Workforce Computer Center.

For more information, or to apply, visit

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