A $2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor is making it a little easier for San Antonio area residents to learn how to code.
Under the grant, unemployed or underemployed residents who live inside the footprint of the Alamo Colleges District can receive a $3,500 scholarship for Codeup, an 18-week private coding course designed to prepare participants for a career in software development.
People who work part time or as contractors qualify for the scholarship, according to a news release from the Alamo Colleges, which is managing the grant.
Codeup CEO Jason Straughan said total tuition for the 40-hour-a-week course is $22,500, but other grants and loans help cover the difference for many students.
“The majority of the students that received (the $3,500 scholarship) in this first cohort, it actually went above and beyond the tuition that was already either covered through other grants or financial aid options, and they were able to use that for housing, living expenses, to purchase a laptop,” Straughan said.
Codeup qualified for the GI Bill in 2016, covering full tuition for veterans. Scholarships for Codeup are also available through Project QUEST, a local nonprofit that is funded in part by government grants, and Workforce Solutions Alamo, the regional workforce development organization.
Straughan said the flexibility of the Department of Labor scholarship lets students spend less time working and more time learning.
“That $3,500 could be the difference between being able to really concentrate and immerse yourself in the program during that 18 weeks and having to, say, drive an Uber in the afternoon,” he said.
Straughan said the average salary of a recent Codeup graduate is $45,000 a year, and that 90 percent find a job within six months. He said USAA is one of Codeups largest employers.
Sean Atwood, who is in charge of the grant program at Alamo Colleges, said some of the community college district’s students may also qualify for scholarships. He said the district is also partnering with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and Project Quest to provide similar technology training scholarships.
Camille Phillips can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @cmpcamille