Solution Overview

What is the name of your organization?


What is the name of your solution?

LaunchCode's National Tech Career Accelerator

Provide a one-line summary of your solution.

Rocketing women and folks of other marginalized genders into the tech workforce through free training and paid apprenticeship career placement.

Film your elevator pitch.

What specific problem are you solving?

LaunchCode is building a skilled workforce by creating pathways for driven people seeking careers in technology. We are helping jobseekers enter the tech field by providing accessible education, training, and paid apprenticeship job placement.

A large part of LaunchCode’s mission is to create a more diverse tech workforce. However, the tech workforce continues to be male-dominated. When compared to overall private industry, the high tech sector employed a larger share of whites (63.5 percent to 68.5 percent) and men (52 percent to 64 percent) as stated by the EEOC.

In fact, according to a 2020 research report by Accenture, the percentage of tech workers who were women in 1984 (35%) was actually higher than it is today (32%). The pandemic placed even more burdens on women than it did men when it came to career burnout, an increase in household responsibilities, and fears of being laid off or furloughed according to TrustRadius’ 2021 Women in Tech report. And women of color face even more severe biases in the tech workforce. 

In 2014, women and non-binary participants in LaunchCode programs created their own meetup group to support each other as they pursued opportunities in the tech workforce. This meetup became so popular that in 2017, LaunchCode expanded its National Tech Career Accelerator to include a new Women+ program. This program specifically serves women and non-binary individuals who are interested in tech training and career placement. Women+ is a longer training course than our Part Time Web Dev program and only meets in-person once a week instead of two, allowing participants more flexibility when it comes to scheduling and childcare. Women+ also offers different tracks aside from web development, like Salesforce, SQL, and Data Analysis training. 

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in Sep. 2021 that “employment of software developers, quality assurance analysts, and testers is projected to grow 22 percent from 2020 to 2030, much faster than the average for all occupations.” According to a 2020 report by Accenture, only 21% of women said they believed they could thrive in a career in tech, a number which falls drastically to 8% for women of color. And mthree’s “2021 Diversity in Tech” report shows that 68% of business leaders feel there is a lack of diversity in their tech workforce, and 51% of business leaders expressed that they struggle to recruit diverse entry-level tech talent.

LaunchCode matches graduates of our no-cost, part-time computer programming training with hiring managers who have been encouraged to look at ability rather than credentials. After completing the 25 - 45 weeks of hard and soft skill training, LaunchCode graduates can apply to be placed on a tech team at one of LaunchCode’s 440+ company partners, earning hourly pay and health coverage until the company decides to onboard them to their team as a junior-level employee.

What is your solution?

LaunchCode’s National Tech Career Accelerator is changing the way companies are approaching tech hiring and opening up job opportunities to folks traditionally underrepresented in today’s tech workforce.

Students accepted into the Accelerator will move through three sequential phases: 

1. Tech Training Programs

Participants choose to enroll in one of the following courses to start their tech career journeys:

a) Part Time Web Dev: a part-time class that runs for 24 weeks. Part Time Web Dev students learn the foundational skills needed to be a full stack developer. These classes meet for 6 hours each week in the evenings, and participants are expected to complete 10-15 hours of coursework outside of class each week. Students completing the course walk away with job-ready tech skills, including Javascript (with testing and Angular) and Java (with Spring Boot) or C# (with .NET MVC).

b) Full Time Web Dev: a 9-to-5 class that runs for 14 weeks. Full Time Web Dev students learn the foundational skills needed to be a full stack developer. These classes meet for 40 hours each week during the day. Students completing the course walk away with job-ready tech skills, including Javascript (with testing and Angular) and Java (with Spring Boot) or C# (with .NET MVC).

c) Women+: a part-time class that runs for 24 or 45 weeks. Women+ is a program designed to engage and educate women, nonbinary, and trans-expansive individuals in the technology community. These classes meet for 3 hours each week in the evenings, and participants are expected to complete 10-15 hours of coursework outside of class each week. Students choose one of six training tracks: Data Analysis, Intro to Product, Salesforce, SQL, Java Web Development or C#/.NET Development. 

2. Career Preparation

The last few weeks of each LaunchCode course is the career module portion of training. This section equips enrollees with the soft skills that includes workshops, group projects & individualized coaching focused on teaching participants the crucial soft skills needed for a career in technology, and participants develop web applications in small groups that can be presented during job interviews. The modules also include various career components where participants meet with industry tech/HR professionals for resume reviews and mock interviews.

3. Job Placement Program

Participants who have completed our courses have the opportunity to enroll in LaunchCode's Apprenticeship Program. Apprentices are employed by LaunchCode and contracted to employer partners who have open requisitions for tech staff, with the goal of full-time employment at the company partner following an apprenticeship period. Apprentices earn $25 an hour and have the option to enroll in LaunchCode medical benefits. On average, 80%+ of apprentices convert to permanent employment within 3-6 months, with a starting salary of $65,000+.

Not only does the Accelerator help hundreds of women and nonbinary folks access successful careers that offer life-changing wage increases, health insurance coverage, and opportunities for advancement from a wide range of employer partners each year, but it is also building more diverse and dynamic teams for U.S. tech employers.

Who does your solution serve, and in what ways will the solution impact their lives?

LaunchCode helps individuals from all backgrounds develop employable tech skills through our education courses, and land permanent careers through our innovative apprenticeship program. 

St. Louis entrepreneur Jim McKelvey founded LaunchCode in 2013 to address two main problems: companies -- like his own Square -- were unable to find enough tech talent to grow locally, while coders without a technical degree or prior work experience couldn't break into the field.

Nontraditional tech job candidates (underemployed, economically disadvantaged, women, BIPOC, re-entering workforce) make up a large bulk of LaunchCode's enrollment. LaunchCode provides a more-accessible on-ramp for these candidates, compared to the traditional processes that structurally and inherently disadvantage the previously-mentioned populations. For the over 3,300 individuals whose careers we have launched, their average salary of $24,000 upon entering our programs more than doubled to an average of $65,000 upon apprenticeship completion. 

Average demographics of the 1,590 individuals enrolled in LaunchCode training in 2022:

62.2% come from low-to-moderate income households

60.2% are women or nonbinary

58.6% are people of color

48.5% personally earning less than $30K a year

47.5% do not have a 4-year college degree

25.7% are LGBTQIA+ individuals

7.7% are people with a disability

Ages 17 to 68 years old

LaunchCode regularly solicits feedback from students, graduates, apprentices, contracted staff and employer partners, leading to program optimization that improves student retention - including referrals for students having issues with transportation/childcare/other barriers to success; implementing deferred enrollment; offering further training for contracted staff; auditing our application process to mitigate any bias; etc.

Additionally, in 2023, LaunchCode will be rolling out a new alumni engagement plan, which will help us better connect with our network of thousands of graduates across the U.S. to solicit their feedback on curricula and course delivery, utilize their advocacy to get their employers to hire more LaunchCode graduates, and encourage more former graduates to come back as course teaching assistants and volunteers. We believe this increased interaction with our growing alumni base will not only make our current programs stronger, but will also help more companies realize the value of hiring technologists based on skill rather than expensive credentialing.

How are you and your team well-positioned to deliver this solution?

LaunchCode has been working with companies to address tech talent needs with our Apprenticeship Program since 2013 and has been training individuals traditionally underserved in the tech workforce since 2014.

Our Impact Team (in charge of course admission, delivery and vetting candidates for apprenticeships) is led by our Chief Program Officer Lin Wang, PhD and our VP of Impact Nicole Pope. Their team has successfully trained over 10,400 individuals with foundational computer programming skills since 2014.

Our Company Relations Team (in charge of matching program graduates with job/ apprenticeship opportunities) is led by both our Chief Financial Officer Ethan Leigh and our VP of Company Relations Carlin Brent. Their team is responsible for over half of LaunchCode’s annual revenue and has helped launch over 3,300 tech careers.

Our Finance Team is led by our VP of Finance Candice Bobbit, our Donor Relations Team is led by our VP of Donor Relations Kevin Kickham, our Strategic Communications Team is led by VP of Strategic Communications Leah Freeman, and our Marketing Team is led by VP of Marketing and Design Tiana Berry-Jones. These leaders have secured and managed funding for our no-cost training and job placement programs, and have ensured LaunchCode recruits course participants from backgrounds traditionally underrepresented in the tech workforce.

Our Education/Technology Teams are managed by our VP of Education Rob Thomas and our VP of Technology Keith Slater. Our Education Team has a unique mix of individuals with former careers as developers, programmers and educators, and is tasked with constantly iterating LaunchCode curriculum to present skills most in-demand by employer partners.

LaunchCode has hired 20 graduates of our programming to our various full-time staff departments, and their past experience in the course is a vital perspective.

For four years, LaunchCode has been recognized by the Women’s Foundation of Greater St. Louis as demonstrating a strong commitment to women in the workplace through their Employment Scorecard Initiative. 

Partner organizations include:

St. Louis Community College (partnership to run Full Time Web Dev cohorts and also offer 12 credits in Computer Science to any program completers)

NAACP (share our STL offices with local chapter and partner to reach target communities)

Rockhurst University in Kansas City & Belmont Charter School in Philadelphia (partners for in-kind classroom space in our satellite markets)

Government Entities and Agencies like the Missouri Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development, the Missouri Department of Economic Development, the Missouri Technology Corporation and the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry

Over 440 employer partners - from Fortune 50 companies to startups - top hiring partners include Boeing, Centene, Comcast, Edward Jones, Mastercard, and VMLY&R.

A wide net of nonprofit organizations to which we refer students in need. Recent partners include: PCs for People to get laptops and wi-fi hotspots to students in-need & HenRose Cares, a Black, female-led nonprofit, created a Student Success Fund that LaunchCode students can apply for to receive emergency funds.

Support from MIT Solve will help LaunchCode better serve women and folks of other marginalized genders.

Which dimension of the Challenge does your solution most closely address?

  • Create a more inclusive STEM workplace culture including through improving pay transparency, decreasing bias in hiring and promotion, introducing and upholding healthy behaviors and organizational role models, and/or bolstering wraparound supports for wor

In what city and state is your solution team headquartered?

St. Louis, MO, USA

What is your solution’s stage of development?

Growth: An organization with an established product, service, or business model that is rolled out in one or more communities

How many people does your solution currently serve?

Annually, LaunchCode is training around 1,400 individuals through our no-cost tech education programs in St. Louis, Kansas City, and Philadelphia. Additionally, we are launching around 400 program participant careers annually, with around 300 individuals starting their tech careers through our federally-accredited Apprenticeship Program.

Why are you applying to the Challenge?

LaunchCode is always seeking to maintain strong partnerships with hiring partners and continually develop new partnerships with businesses looking to hire from our pool of talent. Not only will exposure through this Challenge allow LaunchCode to connect with new partners looking for diverse, driven tech talent, but it will also give LaunchCode the opportunity to deepen relationships with current hiring partners - showing them we’re being recognized at a national level. 

In order to continue to be successful in our three markets (St. Louis, Philadelphia, & Kansas City) and with new partners, LaunchCode needs a pervasive brand presence that will be brought to mind when folks across the country think about hiring non-traditional tech talent. The exposure that will come with this opportunity to discuss our solution will help us move toward this goal.

Support from the MIT Solve competition would also give LaunchCode more resources to better prepare women and other folks of marginalized genders, & BIPOC individuals in our National Career Tech Accelerator. The competition’s support program that includes a comprehensive needs assessment would allow LaunchCode to better serve our students and make sure that they have the tools they need to succeed in our program and beyond. Additionally, tapping into a broader network of resource partners and peers across industries and sectors through MIT Solve would allow us to help more employers recognize the value in hiring based upon demonstrated skill rather than expensive credentialing from colleges and universities. 

Finally, LaunchCode is celebrating our 10 year anniversary as an organization in August 2023. We are extremely proud that over the past decade, we have trained 6,331 women and nonbinary folks with foundational tech career skills, and directly helped 1,251 folks of marginalized genders start careers in the tech industry. As we near our 10-year anniversary, we are envisioning the next decade of our work and impact, and hope to exponentially grow the reach of our programs to new communities and to train for new skills. 

Additionally, we hope to continue to build strong affinity groups of women and nonbinary technologists to provide the encouragement, mentorship, and support that does not always naturally occur for these folks in tech careers. Feedback from and collaborative work with Solve and Tiger Global Impact Ventures - as well as a broader network of collaborative partners - would not only help LaunchCode consider best practices for developing stronger affinity groups and support systems for technologists of marginalized genders who work with our employer partners, but it will also help us create more impactful B2B materials that help companies understand the benefits of increased gender diversity in their tech departments. 

Who is the Team Lead for your solution?

Lin Wang, Chief Program Officer

How is your Team Lead connected to the community or communities in which your project is based?

Lin Wang has a Bachelor of Science degree from Fudan University and a PhD in Energy, Environmental and Chemical Engineering from Washington University in St. Louis. Prior to LaunchCode, she worked as a research scientist and marketing analyst. 

Since joining the LaunchCode team in 2016, she has found her passion for education operations. She even participated in a Part Time Web Dev cohort and has first-hand knowledge of what our students encounter and need from our programs. In her role as a Chief Program Office, she oversees the delivery of a variety of education and training programs. She is committed to creating a positive and inclusive learning experience for all LaunchCoders.

More About Your Solution

What makes your solution innovative?

Our Apprenticeship Program allows LaunchCode to sustainably support the growth of our programming while placing our candidates into career opportunities that provide continued learning & mentorship, and that lead to permanent, well-paid tech jobs. 

Apprentices are taken onto LaunchCode’s books as a contracted employee, earning $25 an hour and having the option to enroll in LC medical benefits. Employer partners are generally billed $40/hr for apprentice work, providing earned revenue to LaunchCode after we pay the apprentices hourly wages and benefits. Each 90 days, the apprentice pay rate and bill rate increase by $5/hr until the apprentice converts to employment at the partner company. On average, 84% of apprentices convert to permanent employment within 4 months, with a starting salary of $65,000.

Unlike other similar programs, there are no hidden costs for participants, such as paying fees back to the organization once landing a job or having to apply for financial assistance in order to enroll in the program. More than half of LaunchCode’s 2022 revenue was earned through billing companies for our apprentices, which allows our organization to focus all philanthropic funding on providing no-cost training programs as a bridge into this apprenticeship model. 

In the end, LaunchCode is incentivized by placing folks into careers instead of simply enrolling them in our classes and charging them exorbitant amounts of money to participate in training. We are shifting the burden of cost for tech workforce training onto the employer, not the jobseeker, while removing the risk of hiring nontraditional employees from the employer to LaunchCode.

Additional program innovations which build participants’ skills include the continual evolution of curriculum to meet employer demand and mock interview / resume review sessions. Our programs also give participants a sense of comradery and support while they change the trajectory of their lives. 

“LaunchCode graduates succeed because they know they are not alone. Our programs offer opportunities to share the struggles and challenges that life can hand out. When you feel like you are part of a community of positive and also imperfect peers, they know they can reach out and seek advice. They have the opportunity to hear from others who have faced the same questions and in that way LaunchCoders have the resources for support that can enable them to make better positively lasting life choices.” 

- Pan Leung, Candidate Engagement Manager at LaunchCode (Former TA and past graduate of a KC LaunchCode training program)

"Going through LaunchCode gave me the confidence to know that I can do it, and I can learn these new skills even without a background, without a bachelor's in computer science," said Jillian Embrey, a LaunchCoder turned web developer at World Wide Technology.

“Many women have non-traditional paths to a tech career, which can be quite challenging when applying for an IT job. [LaunchCode Women+] helps them bridge that so that companies focus on aptitude and skills,” said Sharon Reid, a Women+ graduate, current Senior Database Manager at NISA Investment Advisors and a committed LaunchCode Teaching Assistant.

What are your impact goals for the next year and the next five years, and how will you achieve them?

Over the next year:


  • Will enroll at least 1,400 individuals in our no-cost tech training programs across the country, including at least 840 women and folks of other marginalized genders.

  • Will rocket at least 400 individuals into tech careers, including at least 240 women and folks of other marginalized genders into well-paid tech careers.

  • Will see individuals launching careers through our Accelerator program more than double their previous annual income.

Over the next five years:

Goal 1: National Leadership In Tech Talent Development & Placement


Serves as a premier source of entry-level tech talent for an increasing number of employer partners across the country

Assist companies/employer partners to realize the value of increasing gender diversity on their tech teams

Has a replicable model of success that while location agnostic fills community-based demand for tech talent; spurs employment and social mobility; and strengthens participating communities’ economies

Expands its geographic footprint using established criteria for new hub placement/investment

Is recognized nationally as a thought-leader and industry influencer on tech talent

Goal 2: Strategic Partnerships That Support & Scale The Work


Attracts new employer partners and extends relationships with its existing partners to increase the number of trainings, apprenticeships and placements in its markets

Establishes successful community partnerships that help it advance growth in “net new” tech talent from diverse backgrounds

Build and implement more strategic partnerships with equitable organizations like Rung for Women in St. Louis and PCs for People in all markets

Leverages its community relationships to better address the barriers to program completion and candidate workplace success

Secures more national funders, donors, foundations and government partners that help increase the diversity and magnitude of its funding

Goal #3: Strong Locations & Satellites


Has the right people, programs, and processes needed to ensure hub success both within and beyond St. Louis

Possesses highly engaged, satisfied and talented employees and contractors who:

Have clearly defined career development paths for both promotional and lateral growth

Have the resources and competencies needed to provide exemplary candidate support

Has a modular and adaptive training portfolio that aligns with employer demands

Provides effective candidate care and support services that increase program completion and placement rates

How are you measuring your progress toward your impact goals?

LaunchCode focuses on removing the cost of tech education and building a supportive learning community so that these individuals can pursue careers that offer economic self-sufficiency and significant opportunities for advancement. Not only does this work help individuals and families thrive and begin to give back to communities in which they live & work, but it also changes the way companies approach tech hiring, encouraging them to adopt more inclusive practices to diversify their tech teams. 

To benchmark this work, we maintain a database of all Accelerator participants, and track the completion of their coursework, connections with employer partners, and advancement from apprentice to permanent employment (including reported salary increase).

When opening applications to our National Tech Career Accelerator, we typically receive four to six times the number of applicants than we are able to accept and enroll in our programs. When evaluating applications, our Impact Team looks for community members exhibiting passion, drive and aptitude. After reviewing HackerRank evaluations of an applicant’s aptitude for the basic logic, math, and problem solving skills required for the course, our team then looks at the applicant’s answers to essay questions to see where their passion for technology comes from and how they've exhibited the drive to solve problems in their daily life. Finally, our staff considers the demographics of our candidates, focusing on enrolling classrooms that reflect the diversity of the metropolitan regions we serve. 

We measure program impact and success based on the number of students enrolled in and who complete our courses, the number of candidates placed into apprenticeships, the number of apprentices hired into positions or increase their wages and the demographics of participants matching the target number of underrepresented populations we wish to serve.

Our Teaching Assistants use Canvas, a digital Learning Management System, to track students’ attendance and assignment completion. Canvas allows our Education Team to view student outcomes in real time so that they can identify problem areas for students and plan interventions to help them overcome these challenges and continue progressing through the class.

LaunchCode is proud to align with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal of providing decent work and economic growth to our communities. By surveying previous those who started a tech career through LaunchCode prior to 2019, we found 95% are still working in tech, they stay at their initial placement company for an average of 31 months, nearly half (47%) still work at the company at which LaunchCode placed them, more than 70% have received a promotion and 95% have received a raise since placement.

We see LaunchCoders with two to three years on the job earning an average of $78,000 annually and the earliest LaunchCode placements, those with six or more years of experience, earning on average a remarkable $115,000 per year. 

LaunchCode tracks the reported salaries of women and other marginalized genders as they move through the Accelerator. This data allows us to better advocate for them to have equitable pay in the tech workforce.

Describe in simple terms how and why you expect your solution to have an impact on the problem.

At its core, LaunchCode is an innovation to the fundamental model of who historically has borne the risk and burden of accessing high-wage careers in technology. We are shifting the perceptions of two audiences - entry-level tech job seekers and companies that hire entry-level tech workers - that have the power to change the tech workforce. 

Traditionally, students invest in expensive 4-year computer science degrees or attend pricey for-profit coding bootcamps in order to qualify for entry-level tech roles. However, these traditional pathways to tech careers often exclude those without the finances to afford “access” into the tech workforce. And the effect of college loan debt often has a dangerous ripple effect on economically-disadvantaged individuals. 

While there is a growing need for tech talent in our country, many folks are excluded from pursuing careers through these job openings. For this reason, LaunchCode ensures that our classrooms reflect higher percentages of women, people of color, and economically disadvantaged individuals than traditional degree programs. 

We’ve seen first-hand that companies can adopt hiring strategies that include folks without traditional credentials, but these companies also want to ensure that these strategies provide reliable pools of talent filled with diverse, driven individuals. Through partnerships with hundreds of employers, LaunchCode has proven that our training is preparing community members with the skills that hiring managers are looking for, and our Apprenticeship Model de-risks the hiring process - allowing companies to vet talent from diverse backgrounds without committing to full-time hiring immediately. These partnerships shift the mindset of tech workforce hiring and redistribute the cost of workforce training to the employer.

Not only does LaunchCode’s National Tech Career Accelerator create increased job opportunities in tech for women and folks of other marginalized genders, but it also strategically focuses on building communities of women and nonbinary technologists who support one another in their tech career journeys. Unfortunately, we know that currently, many folks of marginalized genders who work in tech don’t always stay in the field due to institutional bias, gendered microaggressions, and lack of supportive policies. By fostering supportive communities that these budding technologists can turn to when they face these difficult challenges, we are determined to build a future tech workforce that better values and benefits from the unique perspectives women and nonbinary folks bring to the many technologies that we use on a daily basis.

If your solution is tech-based, describe the core technology that powers your solution.

LaunchCode’s Education and Technology teams are consistently working together to create the best possible learning environment for our students. We are continually updating curriculum and streamlining systems to give students access to the latest technologies. 

Specifically, we teach the following highly in-demand technical skills to our Tech Career Accelerator participants:

  • Javascript / JQuery

  • Java / Spring Boot

  • C# / .Net

  • SQL

  • Python Pandas

  • Tableau

  • Anaconda

  • Excel

  • Salesforce

  • Trailblazer

  • DevOps**

  • AWS, Cloud Services*

  • Linux Administration*

  • Cyber Security**

  • Networking**

  • SQL, Python**

*currently piloting 

**curriculum currently being developed

Which of the following categories best describes your solution?

A new business model or process that relies on technology to be successful

Please select the technologies currently used in your solution:

  • GIS and Geospatial Technology
  • Software and Mobile Applications

In which US states does your solution currently operate?

Missouri & Pennsylvania

In which US states will your solution be operating within the next year?

Missouri & Pennsylvania

Your Team

What type of organization is your solution team?


How many people work on your solution team?

Full-time: 56

Part-time: 4

Contracted Staff: between 90 and 150 contracted instructors and teaching assistants annually

How long have you been working on your solution?

Ten years in August 2023.

What is your approach to incorporating diversity, equity, and inclusivity into your work?

The LaunchCode Foundation pursues our mission of building a skilled tech workforce with intentional consideration of its implications for equity both within our organization and in the broader world. For this purpose, we define equity as having been achieved when we cannot predict outcomes by race, ethnicity or other demographic identity factors. We apply this equity lens through several distinct practices, programs, and initiatives.

1) Goals for representation on our staff, board, and those we serve.

For our staff leadership, our goal is:

- Equal representation on the Leadership Team between those who identify as women or gender noncomforming and those who identify as men.

- A minimum of 1/3 of the Leadership Team who identify as People of Color including a minimum of 1/4 of the Leadership Team who identify as African-American or Black.

For our Board of Directors our goal is:

- Equal representation on the Board between those who identify as women or gender noncomforming and those who identify as men.

- A minimum 1/3 of the Board who identify as People of Color including a minimum of 1/4 of the Board who identify as African-American or Black.

For the people we serve (Learners and Candidates) our goal is:

- In each class, for enrollment of People of Color, Black/African-American people, and women to exceed that demographic group’s representation in the Metropolitan Statistical Area in which the class is centered,

- To eliminate the statistical gap in retention and completion of our programs between and among different demographic groups within our participant base, as well to eliminate any demographic gap in placement outcomes for candidates in the playground.

- To employ a contract instruction staff for each class whose demographic characteristics reflect those of its enrollee universe.

2) Forward Through Ferguson Racial Equity Roundtable.

Beginning in July 2021, we convened in St. Louis as part of a membership-based, 10-month equity engagement opportunity to problem-solve, self-assess, build relationships, and expand our depth of Racial Equity understanding and practice.

3) Targeted learner success coaching.

In 2019, LaunchCode began deploying practicum students from Washington University's Brown School of Social Work as success coaches for learners most likely to face extra hurdles.

4) DEI Committees of local advisory boards in KC & Philly.

To inform organizational practice, recruitment & community engagement.

5) Equity and Diversity focused team training.

Traditionally, LaunchCode staff participates in two annual intensive, externally-facilitated DEI trainings.

6) Anti-racist dialogue group for staff.

7) Student support fund. Learners of color are disproportionately likely to face persistence challenges in our programs due to short-term financial strains. While LaunchCode does not provide direct cash payments to learners, in 2020 we formed a partnership with a nonprofit called HenRose Cares to provide assistance to students in need.

Your Business Model & Funding

What is your business model?

LaunchCode’s Business Model exists to serve a need that is at the intersection of two major societal issues in the US: the tech talent gap plaguing companies across the country and the cycle of low-wage employment that restricts the time and resources of many driven individuals. 

Through providing our unique Apprenticeship Program to a growing number of companies across the country, LaunchCode is not only helping companies tap into new pools of diverse, driven talent that will help fill in gaps of skill, perspective and experience on their teams, but also, we are providing a foot-in-the-door for very talented candidates for upwardly mobile tech careers who would traditionally be screened out due lack of credentials. We are changing the face of tech talent in our country by upskilling individuals without the resources to pursue traditional means of Computer Science education and vouching for their passion, drive, and aptitude with employers.

We are pleased to be serving 1,400 individuals through our no-cost tech training programs each year, and we’re excited about new strategies we’ve developed in St. Louis to better serve low-income students. We have also implemented these strategies in our two satellite cities in Kansas City and Philadelphia. 

Within the next five years, we plan to continue scaling LaunchCode’s National Tech Career Accelerator to expand to at least two new markets and increase the amount of individuals we are able to place annually at US companies.

Do you primarily provide products or services directly to individuals, to other organizations, or to the government?

Individual consumers or stakeholders (B2C)

What is your plan for becoming financially sustainable?

LaunchCode cultivates diverse funding streams to ensure our education programs are sustainable over the long term. Our apprenticeship program is revenue-generating; when a company takes on a LaunchCode apprentice, the employer pays LaunchCode on top of the apprentice's hourly fee. In 2022, this earned revenue accounted for over 50% of LaunchCode’s revenue.

LaunchCode actively solicits funding from local and national foundations and corporate grantmakers to support our operations. LaunchCode's Executive Team also manages a schedule of government grant solicitations. Furthermore, we are working to grow our individual donor base, and we employ a Donor Relations Team of five members (VP of Donor Relations, Director of Development, Senior Donor Relations Manager, Grants Manager, and the Donor Relations Associate) to direct strategic fundraising opportunities and growth. Finally, we seek in-kind donations to minimize overhead costs.

Share some examples of how your plan to achieve financial sustainability has been successful so far.

The total program budget for LaunchCode’s National Tech Career Accelerator in 2023 is $3,587,234.

Confirmed Funds for LaunchCode’s National Tech Career Accelerator in 2023 (these funds have been paid or pledged):

- $727,500 from the Missouri Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development

- $200,000 from an Anonymous Donor

- $125,000 from the Missouri Technology Corporation

- $100,000 from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation

- $195,000 from the Berges Family Foundation

- $50,000 from 1Philadelphia

- $50,000 from the NISA Charitable Fund

- $50,000 from T-Mobile

- $35,000 from Citi

- $35,000 from RGA and the RGA Foundation

- $25,000 from Centene

- $25,000 from Interco Charitable Trust

- $25,000 from the Hilda & Preston Davis Foundation

- $20,000 from the American Family Insurance Dreams Foundation

- $20,000 from World Wide Technology

- $15,000 from Pettus Foundation

- $10,000 from AT&T

- $10,000 from Hunter Engineering

- $10,000 from Bullhorn

- $5,000 from the Oppenstein Brothers Foundation

- $5,000 from Cultivation Capital

- $5,000 from Sign of the Arrow

- $2,500 from JEMA

- $2,500 from Commerce Bank

- $2,500 from Panera

- $2,500 from Technology Partners

- $2,500 from BJC Healthcare

- $1,000 from VMLY&R Foundation

Total Confirmed Funds: $1,756,000

Pending Funds for LaunchCode’s National Tech Career Accelerator in 2023 (these funds are being currently being requested):

- $300,000 from Mastercard

- $250,000 from Hearst Foundations

- $175,000 from The Boeing Company

- $125,000 from Regions Bank

- $75,000 from Emerson Charitable Trust

- $50,000 from Edward Jones

- $25,000 from Gateway to Innovation Giveback

- $25,000 from Verizon

- $10,000 from Vanguard Charitable

- $5,000 from Enterprise Holdings Foundation

Total Pending Funds: $1,040,000

While corporate and foundation donors make up the bulk of the philanthropic funding for LaunchCode’s National Tech Career Accelerator, our Donor Relations team also cultivates a growing community of individual donors through strategic campaigns and fundraising events. Knowing that we will not likely receive 100% of the proposed grants in the Pending Funds section, we plan to fill in funding gaps with individual donors making unrestricted gifts to LaunchCode.

Finally, LaunchCode’s Apprenticeship Program is revenue-generating. While most of this earned revenue is directed to apprenticeship program operations and LaunchCode’s administrative costs, a portion of our 2023 earned revenue could support any funding gaps that may arise.

Solution Team

  • CS CS
    Courtney Schlueter Grants Manager, LaunchCode
  • Lin Wang Chief Program Officer, LaunchCode
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