Boyce College to host Code Louisville web development training
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (SBTS) — Boyce College, the undergraduate school of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, is working with nationally renowned Code Louisville to launch a Technology as Missions initiative, providing web development skills through intensive training. It is one of the first organizational expansions for Code Louisville since President Barack Obama touted the workforce initiative and its $2.9 million federal grant to expand innovation in April.
“By hosting these Code Louisville classes, we will be able to provide our students with the opportunity to learn a skill that we have not been able to offer in the past, better equipping them to serve the city that they call home and to fulfill the mission to which they have been called,” said Jason Heath, vice president of technology and chief information officer at Southern Seminary. “I thought of this idea as a way to train up a new generation of developers from within our existing student body that would also equip our students with web development skills that could be useful anywhere.”
Students accepted into the 12-week Code Louisville cohort will learn these skills through online training on the Treehouse educational platform and collaborative mentorship between Southern Seminary’s Campus Technology department and a Code Louisville-affiliated developer. After students complete the program, Campus Technology will offer internships to continue learning opportunities and advance the mission of the seminary, according to Heath.
Officials with KentuckianaWorks, which operates the Code Louisville initiative, said having the training classes available directly to Boyce students is an “exciting opportunity” as the workforce initiative seeks to expand to other organizations and educational institutions in 2016. Code Louisville has already expanded its training to 13 counties in Kentucky and southern Indiana since receiving the federal grant.
“As part of the 2016 strategy, SBTS will be the first of hopefully multiple organizations where we are able to make the Code Louisville curriculum available at the organization and provide a mentor specifically for that, so we can identify talent and homegrow software developers,” said Becky Steele, sector strategies coordinator of IT for KentuckianaWorks and project coordinator for Code Louisville.
Steele says Code Louisville is replicating the free training offered through the Louisville Free Public Library system, but it is matching Boyce students with mentors tailored to the mission of the school. Steven Peercy, director of technology at Sound Mind Investing, will serve as a Code Louisville mentor for the Technology as Missions initiative. A Louisville native, Peercy served as web developer with the International Mission Board while in Peru and studied at Southern Seminary for his prerequisite theological education.
“If you learn how to code, you’re not just learning a programming language but you’re learning a way to think about solving problems,” said Peercy, who is a member at Sojourn Community Church. “Technology is everywhere. Computers are everywhere. For people who are looking to plant churches or go overseas and do missions, being able to make a website is a valuable skill.”
Participants in the 12-week cohort can also receive course credit by enrolling in BA381, Special Topics in Business. David Bosch, associate professor of business administration at Boyce College, is the faculty supervisor for the course. Prior to teaching, Bosch worked for Fortune 500 companies and served as a business consultant in Iraq. Although he has no coding experience, Bosch says web development is a “practical, tangible skill” that will be of great value in ministry.
“Even if the student is never involved in web design again after the class is finished, they will have learned the vocabulary and the process which will allow them to better manage the people and resources in their organization,” Bosch said. “This is also a skill that is immediately transferrable to a missional business context in a restricted access country that will allow our students to immediately have access to communities and people for Kingdom purposes.”
To apply for the program, students must first complete four online courses through Treehouse, which typically takes 20 to 30 hours. The program begins with an orientation Jan. 4, 2016. For more information on the program or to apply, visit technologyasmissions.com.