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Free Class for Montana High School Students Opens Door to $85,000 a Year Jobs

computer coding
Photo courtesy of Enokson/Flickr

Right Now Technologies founder Greg Gianforte has enjoyed much success in the software developing world, however, he noticed that many Montana students had trouble stepping into the high paying jobs his company offered.

“We had trouble filling spots. We had good paying jobs and over 100 applicants for every open position we had, but 99 of them were under-qualified,” Gianforte said. “I got looking into this, and found out that, boy, we just don’t have enough high school students in the state of Montana pursuing computer science as a career.”

To help solve the problem, Gianforte and his partners developed Code Montana a computer coding class that is offered to Montana students free of charge. Code Montana was announced at the Montana Jobs Summit a few weeks ago and is already off to a strong start.

“I’m thrilled, we had almost 400 kids sign up for the program since we launched a couple of weeks ago, and one-third of them are girls. As far as jobs out there, I figure, through the work I do with entrepreneurs across the state, that there’s about 400 jobs a year throughout Montana that have starting salaries between 45,000 and 85,000 a year, which is a great Montana wage.”

Code Montana

Indeed, with the average wage in Montana stuck at around $38,000, even a low end coding job would place a perspective job applicant at a better pay scale than the average insurance underwriter, real estate appraiser, or even the average judge in Montana (Montana Bureau of Labor and Industry Wage Estimates 2012).

On top of subsidizing tuition for up to 1,000 Montana high school students, Code Montana is also encouraging participation by offering $10,000 worth of prizes to those that go to Code and sign up to take the class.

Code Montana is only offered free for high school students. If you’re not of the proper vintage though, there are other opportunities on the web site too.

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