Water Valley coding academy receives TVA funds to launch graduate institute

Published 10:57 am Monday, March 7, 2022

A vital Tennessee Valley Authority initiative is helping Base Camp Coding Academy apply data and innovative technologies to expand its current coding program in Water Valley  to serve a broader community of students. 

The Base Camp Graduate Institute has been selected for funding by TVA’s Connected Communities initiative, which uses community-driven information and the newest technology solutions to address challenges that include broadband access, environmental risk monitoring, digital literacy training and next-generation career options. 

TVA is working with communities on pilot projects they value. The Base Camp Coding Academy Graduate Institute will share more than $3 million in grant funding from TVA in 2022 and 2023 after review. The goal of the Connected Communities initiative is to support the best services for the people and businesses who depend on them. 

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Founded in 2016, Base Camp Coding Academy has created a pipeline for under-advantaged recent high school graduates in Mississippi to access careers in software development, with a rate of employment of its graduates of over 95%.

The business community has embraced this alternate education path as a viable new source of talent, and the accomplishments of the Base Camp alumni network has created a social shift in the public schools towards careers in tech.

Leveraging the experiences and successes of Base Camp Coding Academy and the recruitment and placement pipelines developed over the past 6 years, Base Camp Coding Academy is excited to launch this new pilot to serve a more diverse student population that will include adult students.  The pilot will involve learning about new student populations with diverse backgrounds, prior work experience/competing life challenges and developing curriculum and professionalism strategies to achieve technical proficiency and employment for every graduate. 

“Today every Base Camp student starts this program within a week or two of high school graduation,” said Glen Evans, co-Founder of Base Camp Coding Academy. “With this support from TVA’s Connected Communities initiative, we will build upon the foundation laid by Base Camp Coding Academy.  The Base Camp Graduate Institute will offer a path for non-traditional students to learn software engineering skills, joining our growing tech workforce in the rural South.”

The Base Camp Coding Academy Graduate Institute was selected from more than 40 organizations that applied for funding during the initial call for pilots in late 2021. Each selected project supports at least one of three focus areas of the TVA Connected Communities initiative: 

  • Equitable Access to Services: Services through broadband, modern technology and the knowledge and empowerment to use it.
  • Economic Empowerment: Economic security and the ability to contribute to a modern, 21st Century economy to the best of their ability.
  • Energy & Environmental Justice: A healthy environment) and reliable, affordable and clean energy.

The TVA Connected Communities initiative is one of the concepts TVA is initiating as part of the Energy System of the Future to help achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. In February, the TVA Board of Directors approved exploration of advanced nuclear technology as part of its development of innovative, cost-effective technologies to support its aspirational goal of a net-zero carbon energy future. Other technologies TVA is exploring include next-generation energy storage, carbon capture, new hydroelectric pumped storage and hydrogen. TVA continues to expand its renewable energy portfolio, including the targeted addition of up to 10,000 megawatts of solar energy by 2035.

Dr. Joe Hoagland, vice president, TVA Innovation & Research, said production of low- and no-emission power is an important, but not the only, part of the energy equation for TVA’s seven-state service region.

“It is essential for local communities to be positioned to take full advantage of TVA’s Energy System of the Future,” he said. “During the past year, the Connected Communities team and community partners have been working to understand Valley challenges, align best practices and build a roadmap to tomorrow.”

Bonnie Latta, senior project lead of the TVA Connected Communities initiative, explained that her team is assisting community leaders to prepare for the future by helping them to develop strategies that leverage technology and data.

“Connected Communities is all about helping local leaders create plans through local teams, which is important for creating enduring benefits for people and businesses,” said Latta. “We are pleased to help interested communities build a localized strategy and implement a plan. By working in partnership with Valley communities and local power companies, we are continuing to make TVA’s seven-state region the best place in the country to live, work and raise a family.”

To learn more about TVA’s Connected Communities initiative, including resources and tools for communities to implement their own Connected Communities initiatives, please visit www.tva.gov/ConnectedCommunities or email your inquiry to ConnectedCommunities@tva.gov.