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This nonprofit is bringing its free tech education class to Philadelphia

LaunchCode, a nonprofit that provides free tech education and job placement assistance, will begin its first Philly-based web development class on June 10. 

The free course, LC101, is an introduction class that covers a selection of programming languages and frameworks needed for web development. The class is open to people of all ages from high school graduates to older professionals. 

Virtual classes will be held on Monday and Thursday nights from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Participants are required to learn some material on their own time as well. The course is typically 20 weeks long, but this session will be 25 weeks due to the new online format because of the coronavirus pandemic.

LaunchCode is based in St. Louis, Missouri, but interested participants in Philly will work with LaunchCode Philadelphia, the nonprofit’s new, local office. LaunchCode Philadelphia will select participants in an application process that includes essay questions and a basic math and problem solving assessment. No previous technical experience is required to apply. About 150 applicants will be accepted into the class. 

Keighan Gunther, assistant vice president of LaunchCode Philadelphia, said that the nonprofit will consider an applicant’s drive and willingness to learn through the essay questions.

According to Gunther, the class is a good opportunity for people who have been laid off or people who have done basic coding, like Excel sheets, in previous jobs and want to learn new skills for a career in tech.

“Too often in Philadelphia, we have seen opportunity pass by smart, dedicated citizens due to the high cost and barriers associated with traditional tech education,” Gunther wrote in an email to Kensington Voice. “Through our free, part-time LC101 program, we are able to remove these barriers to allow for neighbors across Kensington to learn the digital skills needed to move into high-way, high-growth careers.”

Still, some Kensington community members are already struggling to access online learning and digital programs, due to unreliable internet connections. In response, LaunchCode Philadelphia will help connect applicants with available services, like the city’s PHLConnectED free internet initiative, and will offer support to applicants, who can’t access those kinds of services, on a case-by-case basis, Gunther said.

Once enrolled in the course, students are required to have a laptop; a Chromebook or tablet won’t be sufficient. LaunchCode Philadelphia can help connect applicants to resources as previously mentioned.

After finishing the class, participants can apply for LaunchCode’s apprenticeship program. The program provides job placement assistance and requires applicants to spend additional hours on an independent coding project. 

How to apply

Applications for the class are open until May 9. You can apply here.  

LaunchCode Philadelphia is hosting virtual information sessions from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. on March 25 and April 1. You can register for any of the sessions here

Editor: Claire Wolters / Designer: Henry Savage

Kensington Voice is one of more than 20 news organizations producing Broke in Philly, a collaborative reporting project on economic mobility. Read more at or follow on Twitter at @BrokeInPhilly.

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