Mattie Rhodes, partners host Latinx-focused web development course

Abby Hoover
Managing Editor

The Mattie Rhodes Center is partnering with the Full Employment Council (FEC) and the University of Missouri – Kansas City (UMKC) to provide a Web Developer Fundamentals Course.

This eight-week program will provide skills in web development, which has proven to be an entry into more general technology careers.

The program, targeted for Latinx aged 18 to 24, begins Monday, Oct. 19, from 10 a.m. to noon on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

Wagner said although this particular program is focused on Latinx young adults, others who are interested can still reach out, and Mattie Rhodes and their partners will connect them with similar opportunities available to them.

Mattie Rhodes will gather documentation on prospective participants, which will then be evaluated by the FEC to determine eligibility.

Participants will be notified of their approval upon verification by the FEC. At the completion of the program, the FEC will work with employers to place individuals, although apprenticeships and jobs are not guaranteed.

Scott Wagner, Director of Northeast Alliance Together (NEAT) at the Mattie Rhodes Center said this program was born out of a conversation with Yoodle Education Services (YES).

“It was a conversation with them about some of the work they’re doing in the technology space, which then got into the lack of Latinx who are in that technology space, and some of the training that they were doing with the FEC,” Wagner said.

This led to a discussion between MRC, FEC and YES, about the possibility of some sort of program centered on Latinx that would give an introduction to technology work.

“The thought was to start with the web development piece because that’s kind of a nice entry point, kind of a simple entry point into the technology space,” Wagner said.

Although the program is valued at $3,500, FEC has scholarships available for the full value of the program.

“The FEC has received federal funds to do programs in this area, but their time was growing very short,” Wagner said. “So our timing was good to suggest doing this now because we’re really coming on to the tail end of the funds that the FEC has available for a program like this.”

YES began collaborating with the FEC and UMKC at the beginning of 2020 to launch workforce development classes structured to provide real-world training to Kansas Citians for in-demand career fields such as web development, computer science and information technology.

“We have pivoted from on-campus to virtual classrooms and will continue moving forward with new classes starting right away. It is critical now more than ever that we strive to provide Kansas Citians with access to quality instruction,” said Christina Davis, Director of Continuing Education at UMKC’s School of Computing and Engineering.

Because the program will be taught virtually, participants will also receive laptops from the FEC to allow them to participate remotely.

“It was really a matter of having the right conversation at the right time, being able to take advantage of some funding that FEC still has available for something like this, and with Yoodle and UMKC in their own kind of educational partnership, we were able to put something together pretty quickly,” Wagner said.

Wagner said MRC may be able to provide socially distanced space to those who need it.

MRC has been working to build various programs to get into career development over the last several months, too.

“This will be the first one that allows us to really try to plug in young people to career development,” Wagner said. “We have some other program discussions going on right now that hopefully will be near completion in January to launch, but this is hopefully the first of many instances where we are going to be doing some sort of career development programming.”

Wagner said at this stage, it all depends on MRC’s partners, funding sources and the community’s interest in such programs.

“I think for us, as we continue to work in the community as an agency, one of the things that continues to be an issue that’s brought up is jobs and careers, and so as we try to work through various issues that our participants have and issues that our neighborhood faces, we know that we have got to create good career development programming,” Wagner said.

“In a lot of ways, a lot of problems get solved when someone has a good career, a good job, good money, and so that’s part of the mission we know we’ve got to have.”

They’re hoping for at least 15 participants, and Wagner views it as a great opportunity for those interested in technology and have never had a chance before. Those interested can apply here.

The FEC is currently holding online and in-person employment and training services, and the Missouri Job Center is taking appointments for in-person services for individuals without remote or computer access. To file an unemployment claim call 800-320-2519, M-F between 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. To schedule an FEC appointment call (816) 471-2330, M-F between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.

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