Free program provides a fast track to better wages

BLOOMINGTON — The Mill, Bloomington’s nonprofit center for entrepreneurship and coworking, announced today that applications are open for Code/IT Academy, a free upskilling program.

A partnership between The Mill, Duke Energy, Ivy Tech Community College, and the City of Bloomington, the program is tailored to community residents seeking to transition to higher-paying jobs in the digital economy.

Melissa Ward

“What makes Code/IT Academy so effective,” Melissa Ward, Head of Initiatives and Partnerships for The Mill commented, “is its combination of intensive training, career coaching, and job placement after graduation. We can’t say enough good things about the quality of instruction and support participants get from our partners at Ivy Tech. This program can change lives.”

Previously known as The Mill Code School, Code/IT Academy offers virtual training over 10 weeks. The fall 2021 program focuses on software development and teaches skills in Python, CSS, HTML, Java, and more. Participants receive one-on-one technical mentoring as well as career coaching to prepare for the interview and job placement process. No previous experience in coding, IT, or tech is required. The courses are self-guided and can be completed while working full time.

Adam Gross

“Code/IT Academy is a perfect fit with Ivy Tech’s expertise and our mission,” said Adam Gross, Executive Director of Career Coaching and Employer Connections. “We’re making tech skills accessible for everyone, regardless of income, job status, or previous education, and we’re empowering Hoosiers to transition to great new careers where they can earn higher wages.”

In June of 2020, The Mill was awarded a $34,000 Powerful Communities Workforce Development grant from the Duke Energy Foundation in support of the program. “Duke Energy’s support enables us to offer Code/IT Academy at no cost to participants,” Ward said. “Their sponsorship ensures that our community’s most vulnerable members, including the un- and underemployed and those typically underrepresented in tech, have access to opportunity. We couldn’t do it without them.”

The Duke Energy Foundation’s Powerful Communities program makes strategic investments to build powerful communities where natural resources thrive, students can excel and a talented workforce drives economic prosperity for all. The Foundation annually funds approximately $2 million in shareholder-funded grants to communities throughout Duke Energy’s Indiana service area. Bruce Calloway, Government & Community Relations Manager for Duke Energy, presented The Mill with their check earlier this summer.

Bruce Calloway

“We hear consistently from Indiana businesses that well-trained workers are one of their greatest needs,” Calloway said. “With this training, more of our community’s residents can enter the 21st-century economy with the valuable skills that employers seek.”

The Mill’s coding program was launched with a $100,000 Recover Forward grant from the City of Bloomington in fall 2020. The pilot program focused on software development and received 120 applications for 40 slots. Of that round, 60% of graduates have been placed in new jobs. In July of 2021, a second cohort focused on IT administration. More than 20 diverse participants earned credits toward an academic pathway at Ivy Tech while preparing to take the CompTIA Network+ exam. Job placement for all graduates is ongoing.

Applications for the third cohort are open now and close on September 24. More information and the link to apply are available at: https://www.dimensionmill.org/code-it-academy/.

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