A St. Louis non-profit organization LaunchCode has been named a finalist in the MIT Inclusive Innovation Challenge.
LaunchCode, which is based in St. Louis, offers free, accelerated job training using a low-cost, scalable model to replicate in-person coding courses.
In order to achieve their students’ success, LaunchCode helps students learn the basics of coding, and additional specialized software career training.
The MIT Inclusive Challenge awards tech-driven organizations that are using technology in an innovative fashion that tackles the way people think about work.
Jeff Mazur, vice president of partnerships, said they applied for the MIT Inclusive Innovation Challenge because they believe innovation is at the heart of what they do at LaunchCode.
“LaunchCode applied for this because we really think that inclusive innovation is really a tremendous part of what we do and certainly we’re focused on using tech as a way to do that,” Mazur said. “Obviously LaunchCode is a non-profit organization that provides free and open access training to people and once they develop those skills we help get them into apprenticeships and jobs that will lead them into a career path.”
Being chosen as a finalist for the challenge awards the organizations $35,000 to support the ongoing work of the organization. Additionally, all the organizations are up for a $150,000 final prize at an award ceremony in Boston on Oct. 12.
LaunchCode applied for the challenge last year, but was not chosen as a finalist. After the company applied in the Spring of this year, they were notified that they were selected as a 2017 finalist.
Mazur said even being a finalist in the challenge was a huge honor, and brings awareness to the work of the organization.
“We’re excited to be there on-hand with the other finalists to hopefully get some good news but we’re awfully excited,” he said. “It’s a huge honor to be recognized by MIT for the work that we’re doing and be chosen as a finalist from all the many applicants. We think it’s a really huge endorsement of the work that LaunchCode is doing in St. Louis and certainly other places around the country.”