The Greater Knox Coding Academy at Elizabethtown Comm­unity and Technical College announced Thursday in a news release a new, “state-of-the-art” learning space.

The lab, on the college’s main campus, was made possible through a $250,000 grant awarded to the Lincoln Trail Workforce Development Board from the Edu­cation and Workforce Development Cabinet.

“The generosity and support of the community has been essential to the success of the Greater Knox Coding Academy,” said Juston Pate, ECTC president in the release. “That is most evident in the grant awarded to the academy by the development cabinet. We can’t thank them enough for contributing.”

Students who attend the coding academy will learn on equipment and software that reflects current and future standards in the coding industry, said ECTC’s program coordinator Steve Bratcher.

“The 17-week coding academy is intensive,” Bratcher said. “This new, customized lab is the perfect environment for students to study, learn and reach their full potential.”

All computer stations in the lab have dual monitors with built-in computers, unique to the Greater Knox Coding Academy. Five large screens, in addition to the main screen, make learning accessible and visible to all students, regardless of where they’re seated. The instructor can facilitate learning with a dedicated smart board.

The space also has a lounge area, Bratcher said, complete with kitchenette and refrigerator.

“We wanted to create an environment that would foster learning but also support students during the demanding program,” Bratcher said. “The grant from the development board allowed us to build an advanced lab that does just that. This space wouldn’t have been possible without their support.”

The coding academy trains people to be certified information technology professionals and prepares them to test for certifications in CompTIA A+ and CompTIA Security+ and as an Oracle Java SE 8 Certified Junior Associate. These skills are in high demand from area employers as well as defense contractors that support Fort Knox and could lead to a career with a starting salary of $60,000, Bratcher said.

“We recognized that the Greater Knox Coding Academy would be instrumental in facilitating a pipeline of skilled workers to fill high-demand jobs in the region,” said State Rep. Dean Schamore, Lincoln Trail Workforce Development Cabinet chairman. “We’re excited to support such a worthwhile program.”

The second coding academy cohort will start Feb. 1, 2021. Anyone interested in applying for the next cohort should go elizabethtown.kctcs.edu/coding academy, or call/text Steve Bratcher at 270-307-9326.

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