I’ve read so many letters and announcements about how the last couple years have been a rollercoaster, and it’s no lie. Many businesses and community organizations didn’t survive the pandemic. While we had our own significant struggles at LEARN, we also found many opportunities for growth.
I’ve always said my favorite part of my job is being a part of this community. And these last two years were a shining example of how people can show up for each other. In response to the pandemic we took our cohorts from an in person class into a virtual space. I was afraid in the transition we would lose our highly-valued classroom camaraderie. We worked hard to make sure our space, even on Zoom, still reflected the community and our core values. And the students the last two years showed up for it, they continued to collaborate, they continued to connect, and they continued to code together! Seeing these cohorts come together and lift each other up was heartwarming.
So that’s what we’ve been doing, we’ve been working on lifting each other up and making both ourselves and the community better. We’ve launched new programming like the LEARN Foundation, that’s helping more folks find access to programming like ours. We launched the Software Residency Program to help developers as they enter into the workforce and to help companies better train their employees from within. We also started working with the incredible Veterans community using the VetTec and VRRAP programs, helping more Veterans gain access to the workforce. While the last two years haven’t been what we expected them to be, they were fulfilling and inspiring.
We are putting all of our efforts into our community and finding ways to significantly impact this industry, creating a better place for developers to learn and grow all throughout their careers. Here’s what we’re working on, we’re putting more into our Software Residency program and creating programming for mentors. We want to make sure that our students and all folks coming into the industry have access to quality mentorship. We’re going to focus on helping companies and more senior developers have the tools and training they need to support early career developers. We’re expanding our internship program to better support the companies needs and make sure they have the program they need to support our students and help them grow and continue to learn.
For the last several years, I’ve been working closely with Adam Cuppy, co-founder of ZEAL (a web development agency and co-creators of the Software Residency). Adam has been a part of the LEARN community since our very first year. He gave his first talk to our students back in the fall of 2015, and has been a dedicated supporter ever since. Let’s just say, he’s one of LEARN’s original super fans! These days he and I would spend many hours and many cups of coffee discussing challenges in the industry, the shortage of senior developers, the lack of training for mentors, and a clear growth path for developers from early career to senior. Our scheming eventually turned into the Software Residency Program, a joint program between LEARN and ZEAL. It was a way for us to help companies bring in early career developers and give them a faster and more clear path towards a senior level role.
Over the last two years, we’ve worked closely together trying to solve these problems but then in an exciting turn of events, he told me that he was leaving his role at ZEAL to pursue his passion for early career developers.
Rob and I both knew that adding Adam to LEARN’s leadership team would give us what we needed to amplify this community and make an even larger impact on the industry. Under my leadership and vision, Adam will focus on building a community around our external partnerships and amplifying the after-program career path. LEARN’s mission has always been to help developers learn and grow throughout their career. Until now we’ve focused our programming on helping people find their way into a career in tech. Now with Adam’s support and talents, we’ll be able to build out our programming and help our alumni and the industry as a whole create clear consistent and inclusive paths for developers to grow throughout their careers. Adam’s ability to build relationships and bring people together will allow us to make that impact even bigger.
I couldn’t be more proud and excited to work with Adam and to welcome him into the LEARN family! It’s going to be an exciting new journey and I couldn’t ask for a better partner.