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Black, Hispanic students here will get new help to step into tech careers

ST. LOUIS – St. Louis Community College is starting a new program aimed at helping Black and Hispanic/Latinx students get careers in high-tech fields.

The college is setting up The STLCC Tech Academy, with help from Bank of America and the AT&T Foundation. The program will open this fall with classes leading to potential jobs in cybersecurity, software development, web development and network engineering.

In a statement, the college said The STLCC Tech Academy would “support inclusive growth and economic opportunities to increase job prospects and reduce racial disparities in income.”

The college is looking for area high school students and graduates from dual credit/dual enrollment or early graduation programs; from industries hit hard by COVID-19 such as hospitality and retail; and from ZIP codes including disadvantaged neighborhoods.

STLCC Tech Academy students will receive free industry certification exams, a laptop computer, tutoring, counseling, transportation assistance, child care assistance and a paid internship. The curriculum is project-based, which allows for experience as students learn.

Bank of America has invested $1 million and is working in St. Louis to address the underlying issues facing people of color, who have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.

The college said the STLCC Tech Academy was “designed to advance racial equality and economic opportunity, and to enhance upskilling and reskilling for Black and Hispanic/Latinx individuals.”

The AT&T Foundation will give $25,000 stipends for student internships and/or apprenticeships for students to work at startups and smaller companies.

Jeff L. Pittman, STLCC’s chancellor, said: “The demand for skilled professionals who work in technology will continue to grow, especially as the digital age evolves. Through the STLCC Tech Academy, we are providing a clear path to careers that are in high demand now and will be in demand for years to come.”

The Missouri Economic Research and Information Center estimates that long-term occupations in computers will increase by 9.1% by 2028 with an average starting salary of $59,012.

The STLCC Tech Academy will teach groups of 20 and 40, each starting in fall 2021, 2022 and 2023 with the goal of educating 240 students. The academy will end in spring 2025.

Who is eligible for STLCC Tech Academy?

STLCC Tech Academy students should meet eligibility requirements that include:

  • Be a Missouri resident
  • Enroll full-time with at least 12 credit hours per semester
  • Be eligible for need-based financial aid
  • Be proficient in reading and math OR need no more than two developmental courses
  • Ability to type 35 words per minute
  • Identify as Black/African American or Hispanic/Latinx

For more information about STLCC Tech Academy, contact Erin Kinsey, student retention specialist, at or 314-644-9395.

Staff is home to The NorthSider and The SouthSider weekly community newspapers. The SouthSider publishes 25,000 copies every Tuesday. The NorthSider publishes 25,000 copies every Thursday. They are distributed at over 600 locations across St. Louis.

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