In a first-of-its-kind program, S.C. Department of Commerce's Office of Innovation, in collaboration with Build Carolina, unveiled a program, called SC Codes, that is designed to provide free access to code education for all residents.
State-funded, the new platform connects students with experienced industry mentors and provides pathways for continuing education and employment in technology-related fields.
"The continued development of South Carolina's digital workforce is critical to ensuring future economic prosperity within our borders," said Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt. "Our ability to compete in the global economy will rely on the availability of an educated, job-ready technology workforce in South Carolina. SC Codes will help us develop such talent, preparing the citizens of this state for the jobs of tomorrow."
SC Codes is available to any resident with access to the internet; no downloads or special equipment are required. Interested participants can enroll in beginner to advanced curriculum, specifically designed with the demands of the state's industries in mind. Additionally, cohort-style and classroom-led sessions will be available through local community partners.
"The beauty of the platform is that anyone who wants to learn to code can access educational resources that are specific to the needs of employers right here in our state," said Lelia King, executive director of Build Carolina, which is a Greenville-based nonprofit organization dedicated to building talent initiatives to support innovative companies across the Carolinas.
South Carolina's tech sector continues to grow and opportunities for individuals entering the workforce with this type of training are vast. Employment in the state's technology industry expanded by an estimated 2,520 jobs in 2017 and contributed $10.8 billion to the state's economy, according to Cyberstates 2018, an analysis published in March by CompTIA.
Including more than 6,600 tech businesses, South Carolina's tech sector is responsible for an estimated 5.6% of the overall state economy.
SC Codes was first established in 2016 as a pilot project under S.C. Commerce's Innovation Challenge grant with BMW and the Greenville County Public Library System. Now, the statewide platform utilizes proprietary technology created by the leadership of the former Greenville-based Iron Yard Academy.