Who Is Mined Minds And How Can I Help?

July 21, 2017

Jonathan Graham and Amanda Laucher

Mined Minds has the mission of creating tech hubs in rural communities of Appalachia that are in economic need, mostly former coal towns.

Why Create Rural Tech Hubs?

There are significant areas of the Appalachian region that are experiencing a rapid decline in the traditional industries that provided the driving force for their local economy. These areas possess a talented and loyal workforce, but the career opportunities available are very limited. At the same time, the software development industry in the US is continuing to expand, but talent is overpriced, and the workforce is severely lacking in diversity. We believe the creation of tech hubs in rural areas can help address both of these issues.

How Are We Creating Tech Hubs?

Tech hubs require both a pool of talented workers, and a demand for their services. We are creating the workforce by providing software development training for displaced and underemployed workers. By working with partners, we are able to offer full scholarships for those in need within the regions that we serve. To create demand for the services that the new software developers can provide, we run a software development consultancy. By operating in low-cost areas, we can offer onshore convenience at costs competitive with outsourcing.

We also recognise that we cannot create tech hubs alone, and that we will be successful when there is lots of competition in the area. That is why we are working with the eduction system to get quality coding programs into schools, and with other companies and organisations to create the tech momentum that is needed for the area to be recognised as a hub.

Do We Really Need More Bootcamp Grads?

Career changers bring a lot of positives to the workforce, and we have seen real advantages from training and employing people from a diverse range of backgrounds. Different experiences and ways of thinking mean that as a team we can explore a greater range of solutions to the issues we face, and build software more suitable for a diverse population.

Having said that, transitioning into a career in code can be difficult, and bootcamp programs offer just the first step. In order to be successful, graduates from these bootcamps must continue to learn within a supportive and accepting environment. That is why we have developed a staged approach to career transitions. The first stage is a 16-week bootcamp, focussed on learning the fundamentals of software development. We do not train people for a job; we train them for a career. This means the focus is on understanding how to learn, and how code really works. Participants that successfully complete this stage are then offered an apprenticeship, where they work on several real-life projects that build both their technical and team skills. With their crucial early experience gained, participants can then transition into permanent positions, either with us or elsewhere.

How Can I Help?

There are many ways that you can help us further our mission.

  • Mentorship is highly valuable at all stages of our career, and especially so at the start. We offer each trainee at least one industry mentor whilst they are with us, and we are always looking for more volunteers. The time commitment is small, but the imact can be huge.
  • Partner with us on projects, and benefit from quality software development at offshore costs. You will not only benefit from the high quality delivery of your projects, but will also help to develop a diverse workforce.
  • Support apprenticeship costs and request specific skills from trainees that you would like to hire.
  • Help us to help more by donating to our Foundation.
  • Spread the word about what we are doing!
  • Please contact us to discuss more about any ways that we could work together.

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