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Ann Arbor Spark Graduates 26 From Inaugural ‘Shifting Code’

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The Spark Central incubator and meeting space in downtown Ann Arbor.

The Spark Central incubator and meeting space in downtown Ann Arbor.

(credit: istock) Technology Report
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ANN ARBOR — Ann Arbor Spark’s first Shifting Code class will graduate from the program on Wednesday, May 16, in a ceremony at Spark Central.

The 26 graduates successfully completed the Shifting Code program, a program designed and administered by Ann Arbor Spark and funded by the Michigan Economic Development Corp. to meet regional demand for software developers.

Of the Shifting Code graduates, 65 percent have already found employment using their new software skills. Shifting Code graduates were hired by a range of companies, including start-up company Commerce Guys, second stage firm SRT Solutions, and global automotive manufacturer Ford Motor Co.

“The response to Shifting Code, both in terms of interest from job-seekers and employers, affirmed that this type of high tech skills development is an important economic development asset for our region,” said Paul Krutko, president and CEO of Ann Arbor Spark. “Shifting Code is a concrete example of how Ann Arbor Spark is fulfilling its mission to drive economic opportunity in the region: Working with employers to identify a need and creating a program to address it eliminates a barrier to business growth.”

Shifting Code’s curriculum was based on the input of a core group of employers, and consisted of learning modules of specific coding languages.  The modules were developed for team-based learning over a 12-week period, and delivered via hybrid instructional model that included face-to-face instruction and online support.

Twenty companies participated in Shifting Code, and the program had support from regional colleges and universities, MEDC and Washtenaw County Michigan Works.

With continued funding from the MEDC, the next Ann Arbor Shifting Code cohort will start September 2012 and focus on .Net, a software framework developed by Microsoft. Several employers are already working with Ann Arbor Spark and its partners to develop the curriculum.

For more information, please call (734) 761-9317 or visit www.AnnArborUSA.org.

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