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New Software Engineering Summer Semester Retrains Workers Displaced by COVID-19

ATLANTA— Morehouse College’s first coding certificate bootcamp, Momentum@Morehouse, a continuing education program created in partnership with Opportunity Hub (OHUB) and Momentum Learning, will launch online on May 26 to help a community of career-starters, skill-seekers, and workers downsized during the global pandemic learn how to thrive as software developers.

The 12-week Python coding bootcamp, one of a few such immersive programs at a historically black college or university (HBCU), supports Morehouse’s focus on creating pathways to lucrative careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) for under-represented minority groups. Momentum@Morehouse students will receive hands-on programming instruction from tech experts using a curriculum based on proven methodology that provides the technical knowledge and soft skills necessary for success in the workplace. Graduates will also receive access to career coaching and networking opportunities, as well as classes in the culture of work in tech and startup skills for entrepreneurs.

The course will launch online next month to make it more accessible during the COVID-19 pandemic. The economic impact of the virus has caused jobless rates to climb to unprecedented levels as families continue to shelter in place. More than 20 million people have filed for unemployment in four weeks due to layoffs across industries from hotels and restaurants to law firms.  

“The unemployment figures we are seeing now from coast to coast outpace those of the Great Depression and could be the harbinger of a recession,” said David A. Thomas, President of Morehouse College. “In four weeks, nearly a decade’s worth of net job gains have been erased. Black households on average are disproportionately impacted by such job losses because we have the nation’s highest unemployment rate.  

“At Morehouse, we are concerned about the future of black workers and their ability to generate income going forward, as well as the fate of others who are facing furloughs and layoffs,” Thomas added. “We are launching the Momentum@Morehouse immersive Python coding bootcamp to help people learn new skills that will lead to promising jobs as software developers.” 

Students who register for the inaugural bootcamp will begin classes on May 26. The program is being supported by a partnership between Morehouse’s Division of Experiential Learning and Interdisciplinary Studies, training experts at the Raleigh-Durham, N.C.-based Momentum Learning, and innovators at OHUB, a national ecosystem building platform that cultivates and places diverse talent, entrepreneurs, and investors in high-growth tech careers and corporate innovation opportunities. 

The bootcamp is open nationwide to anyone who wants to gain new programming skills or change careers. Four of the top five occupations on Glassdoor’s “Best Jobs in America in 2020” list are tech jobs, with salaries ranging from nearly $84,000 to $107,000.

“African Americans are scarce in tech, the field ranked nationally as having among the highest starting salaries and the most opportunity for future growth,” said Dr. Kinnis Gosha, Division Chair and the Hortenius I. Chenault Endowed Associate Professor for Experiential Learning and Interdisciplinary Studies. “Momentum@Morehouse recognizes this missed opportunity and is dedicated to bringing much-needed diversity to the computing landscape.

“With our accelerated coding program, students will learn how to write code, design software, and develop the tools necessary to be competitive for jobs in STEM. For blacks, who rank at the bottom of the national household income scale, a job in the tech space could be the key to beginning to build family wealth,” Gosha explained.

According to OHUB Chairman and CEO Rodney Sampson, a Nonresident Senior Fellow with The Brookings Institution, automation and the commercialization of edge technologies are predicted to disrupt 4.5 million jobs currently occupied by black Americans in the next decade. “This has been accelerated by COVID-19,” said Sampson. “Opportunity Hub's partnership with Morehouse College and Momentum is an immediate, definitive, and scalable solution to close the skills gap for the future of work, which is now.”

The Momentum@Morehouse coursework was designed to meet the specific needs of the top technology companies across the nation. Students will learn to build code and interact with the market’s most in-demand software and web applications, including HTML, CSS, JavaScript, React, Python, Django, Git and more. Those interested in the program can register at momentum.morehouse.edu. Momentum will screen candidates. Competitive financing options are available, and the collaborative partners will be seeking philanthropic and industry partnerships to help provide scholarships and a fast track to entry level software engineering roles.  

“We are thrilled to partner with such a prestigious college to provide relevant training for students that meets the needs of the new economy,” said Jessica Mitsch, CEO and Co-Founder of Momentum. “Today, the only constant is change, and lifelong learning will become the norm for tomorrow’s professionals. The curriculum is continuously adapted to ensure students skills are aligned with current market needs. Our goal is to ensure the greatest chance of long-term career success following the completion of their coursework.”

To learn more about the program or to apply, visit: momentum.morehouse.edu.