Grant Boosts High-Tech Training in South Bend

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Alex Sejdinaj (pictured right with a student) helped launch South Bend Code School a year ago with Chris Frederick and Alex Liggins. Alex Sejdinaj (pictured right with a student) helped launch South Bend Code School a year ago with Chris Frederick and Alex Liggins.

A South Bend nonprofit focused on reducing "brain drain" in the area is pumping more than $200,000 into technical and career training programs. enFocus Inc. says the funding from RDistrict One LLC, which is the group behind the massive redevelopment of the former Studebaker plant, and Urban Research Park CDE will support new and existing South Bend Code School efforts. enFocus is also connecting with Wabash College on programs involving youth engagement to support the next generation, tech-enabled work force.

South Bend Code School cofounder Alex Sejdinaj describes the building blocks in place for the city's growing tech scene. The funding will help the school expand its introductory youth job training and development program, as well as support a new effort focusing on project work for potential future career and higher education opportunities. Sejdinaj says "South Bend Code School is thrilled for the opportunity to offer continued programming to youth in the community. Our introductory class sets students up with high quality skills, and the ability to offer continued programming will increase opportunities for students, including internships and post-secondary programs."

The funding is geared particularly toward serving at-risk youth. enFocus says it will help leverage a total investment of $1 million and help engage more than 700 youth, train 300 students, provide access to advanced training for 70 students and connect at least 50 students with internships, jobs or further education by 2023.

On top of the Code School, the support will also help Improve visibility for existing programs such as St. Joe County CEO, Bowman Creek Educational Ecosystem Project and Startup Weekends, as well as provide scholarships for the Innovation Center at the Studebaker 113 building, part of the high-profile, multi-million dollar Renaissance District development that officially broke ground in May.

enFocus Executive Director Andrew Wiand says "we are excited to facilitate this important investment in our local youth and particularly our at-risk youth. With nearly 20 percent regional information technology industry growth expected by 2022, creating a clear career pathway in the tech industry is important."

South Bend Code School cofounder Alex Sejdinaj describes the building blocks in place for the city's growing tech scene.
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