Partnership program provides students with exposure to software development

students work on project

The Laurel High School Career & Technical Center in partnership with C Spire, Mississippi State University’s Center for Cyber Education, and Jones College is now offering a course for 11th grade students interested in working as a software developer.

“After students from Laurel High School participated in coding competitions at the University of Southern Mississippi and showed great interest and skill in that area, we began investigating what type of class we could offer here at our Career & Technical Center,” said CTC Director Jeannine Agee. “When we heard about the partnership with C Spire, Mississippi State University and Mississippi Department of Education, we knew that we had to be a part of this exciting collaboration.”

The program consists of four courses during the students’ last two years of high school and six more courses at the community college level. With the proper schedule configuration in high school, students can graduate with up to 27 credit hours at their local community college and several industry certifications. Additionally, students will be on track to complete an Associate of Applied Science degree at their local community college within one year of high school graduation. Students will then be prepared to enter the work force as a junior-level software developer at companies across the south like C Spire and FedEx.

Information released by the program stated that there are currently more than 500,000 open computing jobs in the U.S. in all areas, from health care to banking and entertainment.

“Computer science skills are becoming a necessary part of every career field - not just at technology firms. Farming, health care, transportation and every other career path is being impacted by computer science,” Agee said. “Our students need these skills to be informed, productive citizens as well as competent employees. Our goal is to target students who will be successful on the software development pathway.”

Through partnership with Jones College, the CTC is able to offer a hybrid program where someone from the college comes to meet with the students twice a week and the remainder of the coursework is completed online.

“Because individuals with this type of knowledge and experience can make more money working as software developers as opposed to a high school teacher’s salary, we had to look at a way to form a partnership where our students would have access to high quality instruction from someone with profound experience and knowledge in the area of software development,” Agee said. “We are thankful to Jones College for making this happen for our students.”