The Mill Receives $1.37M Grant to Expand Code/IT Academy

The following was sent to the Bloomingtonian:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

For more information, please contact:

Andy Lehman, Head of Accelerator Programming, The Mill, [email protected] or 812-679-6140

Pat East, Executive Director, The Mill, [email protected] or 317-965-2155

The Mill Receives $1.37M Grant to Expand Code/IT Academy

READI to Fund Tech Training Program

Bloomington, Ind.—The Mill today announced that it was awarded $1,370,325 from the Regional Economic Acceleration and Development Initiative (READI) to expand Code/IT Academy across 10 Indiana Uplands counties over the next three years. Code/IT Academy provides free training to grow Indiana’s tech talent pool and to help Hoosiers access higher-paying jobs in the digital economy. Code/IT is a partnership between The Mill, Regional Opportunity Initiatives (ROI), and Ivy Tech. The funds were awarded by the Indiana Uplands READI Steering Committee, ROI Board of Directors, and the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC).

“We are incredibly grateful to READI, ROI, and the IEDC for sharing our vision of Indiana as a leader in tech, and for funding the expansion of Code/IT Academy to reach more Hoosiers,” said Pat East, Executive Director of The Mill. “The Uplands has enviable assets and opportunities for both tech companies and tech talent. Code/IT opens the door to those opportunities a little wider, to bring more folks into the new economy and its good-paying jobs.”

Code/IT’s ten weeks of free training prepares individuals for certifications and jobs in areas such as web development, IT administration, CompTIA Security+, and Amazon Web Services Cloud Practitioner. Ivy Tech instructors teach three sessions of Code/IT a year on a variety of in-demand topics. Participants join study groups and hone soft skills, and receive career coaching through the Ivy+ Career Link program.

“The expansion of Code/IT would not be possible without exceptional collaboration,” said ROI Vice President of Talent Development Michi McClaine. “All of the partners in this program have worked together to re-imagine regionally relevant, high-tech opportunities that will open new doors not just for individuals in the Uplands but also for employers and communities.”

Andy Lehman, Head of Accelerator Programming at The Mill, said the program will expand to Washington and Crawford Counties in summer of 2023. In 2024, it will expand to Daviess, Dubois, and Orange counties. In 2025, it will reach Lawrence, Greene, Martin, Brown, and Owen Counties. Sessions will be live-streamed to satellite county locations with on-site facilitators. In person options will be available to those in close proximity to the Mill.

“One of the things we’ve learned is the importance of an in-person cohort,” Lehman said. “Folks going through this training really benefit from making connections with peers. Personal relationships and the group dynamic build camaraderie and a shared sense of excitement about the possibilities. And that support helps keep folks motivated and moving forward to complete the 10-week session, pass the certification exams, and take steps toward a new career.”

Among other expenses, READI funds will cover the costs of adding on-site facilitators at satellite locations, paying for certification exams, and ramping up career supports. The partnership with ROI is essential to expanding Code/IT Academy throughout the Uplands, Lehman said. The Mill is working closely with each county and ROI to identify convenient community locations.

Code/IT Academy held its first session in June of 2020 and is currently in its seventh. By April 2023, nearly 200 people will have gone through the program. East credited the critical role played by the City of Bloomington in the launch and refinement of the program. In 2020, the City of Bloomington invested $100,000 in Recover Forward funding in The Mill Code School, and in 2022 invested an additional $75,000 in federal ARPA funds in the rebranded Code/IT Academy. 

“Three years ago, the City of Bloomington saw the urgency of expanding the digital economy to benefit more citizens,” said East. “Today, the READI expansion allows us to open the doors to opportunity even wider, to Hoosiers across the Uplands.”


“The READI grant builds on the City’s investment in Code/IT Academy,” said Mayor Hamilton. “I’m excited that the Uplands READI steering committee and the IEDC see the value of this program that helps residents chart brighter futures and employers hire needed talent. This program is a win for our community and now the Uplands region. Hats off to The Mill for their vision and leadership.” 

Increasing digital equity has been an intentional goal of the program from its outset, according to Lehman. Of the spring 2023 Bloomington participants, 80% identify as belonging to a group underrepresented in tech, and 50% do not have a college degree. Across all sessions to date, over half identify as women, and over 30% identify as belonging to a minority group.

Residents of Monroe, Washington, and Crawford counties can sign up here to be notified when enrollment opens for new sessions. To enroll in the current session or learn more about Code/IT Academy, visit https://codeitacademy.org/ .

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About The Mill

The Mill is the heart of southern Indiana’s startup ecosystem and its largest coworking space. A 501(c)3 nonprofit, its mission is to spark Bloomington’s innovation economy by launching and accelerating startups, and its vision is to become Indiana’s center of gravity for entrepreneurship. For more information, visit https://www.dimensionmill.org /

About Regional Opportunity Initiatives

Regional Opportunity Initiatives (ROI) is a nonprofit organization with a mission to advance economic and community prosperity in the 11 counties of the Indiana Uplands (Brown, Crawford, Daviess, Dubois, Greene, Lawrence, Martin, Monroe, Orange, Owen, and Washington counties). ROI is growing potential and possibility through a focus on advanced industry sectors, regionalism, transformative school and workforce redesign, and placemaking strategies. To learn more about ROI’s programs, visit https://regionalopportunityinc.org/.

About the Regional Economic Acceleration and Development Initiative (READI) in the Indiana Uplands

In May 2021, Indiana Gov. Eric J. Holcomb and the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) launched the Regional Economic Acceleration and Development Initiative (READI), a transformational initiative with $500 million in state appropriations to promote strategic investments to make Indiana a magnet for talent and economic growth.

Through READI, regions worked collaboratively to create visions for the future, with programs, initiatives, and projects critical to retaining talent and attracting the workforce of tomorrow. In the Uplands region, this effort, led by ROI and Radius Indiana, included participation from hundreds of stakeholders and organizations and leadership from a steering committee with 17 members representing regional anchor institutions and regional organizations.

Seventeen regions, including the Indiana Uplands, developed plans that outline strategies focused on improving the quality of place, quality of life, and quality of opportunity. The Indiana Uplands plan, entitled “A Region on the Rise,” can be accessed on the ROI website at: https://regionalopportunityinc.org/readi

To help regions achieve their goals, the IEDC awarded READI funds to accelerate the implementation of regional development plans and the programs and projects identified that will catalyze economic and population growth.  In December 2021, the Indiana Uplands was awarded $30 million in READI funds for our “Region on the Rise.” Regions are expected to provide a 4:1 match in support of projects and programs. This includes a required 1:1 match from local public funding and a recommended 3:1 match from private and philanthropic sources.

For more information and announcements on Indiana Uplands READI projects, please visit: https://regionalopportunityinc.org/readi-projects/

About Recover Forward

Recover Forward is a multi-year initiative to help the Bloomington community rebound and thrive coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic, thus moving toward greater racial, economic, and climate justice.

More than $15 million has been approved to date by the City Council for critical investments. Recover Forward Bloomington includes $9 million from the federal American Rescue Plan Act and $6 million from City reserve funds. Learn more at bloomington.in.gov/recoverforward   

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