You might think that Java means coffee and MySQL sounds like a bad movie, but you know coding when you’ve visited interactive websites, used the apps on your phone, and even those Facebook games you’re addicted to. Technology is exploding, and it is software coders who power everything from Silicon Valley to the companies in this building. It's time to bring those careers to Cleveland, and make them accessible to all.

Founded by social entrepreneur Matt Fieldman, Cleveland Codes will break new ground. Right now, we have a huge demand for coders, and we have a huge potential labor source in our youth. Cleveland Codes is about connecting those two dots and offering young adults the chance to have fulfilling, long term careers in software development.

Over the past four years, Matt helped Brandon Chrostowski with launching EDWINS Leadership and Restaurant Institute, which connects formerly-incarcerated men and women with careers in Cleveland’s culinary industry. We've seen the power of offering low-income individuals the chance to better their lives through intense, demanding jobs. EDWINS has proven that inner-city populations can rise to the challenge, and it’s time to bring the EDWINS model to another growing industry: software coding.

Between January and March of this year, we’re going to go to young people and say, “You like those apps and games on your iPhone? We’re going to teach you how to make them – and make a great living doing it.” Cleveland Codes will offer a short, online assessment that any young person in Cleveland can take as a way of determining if they have the passion and raw talent for coding.

Those who pass the initial online assessment will then take a more extensive, in-person exam, followed by interviews, to ensure that they are the right fit for this intensive program. The goal is that, by March 2016, we will identify roughly 30 young people to matriculate into the six-month instructional program. Along with the training, students will start paid apprenticeships with local employers. Upon their graduation, Cleveland Codes will help place these students in technology jobs around Cleveland.

We’ll launch the first cohort this Spring, and could have our first graduates before the end of this year. Once we prove this is successful, we’ll have a sustainable, replicable, and scalable model that can potentially train hundreds of coders every year.

Nationally, in the next five years, there will be one million software coding jobs that will be unfilled.

This is our chance to seize the moment. Apply today for Cleveland Codes.