AC offers stipends, free classes to jump start high tech careers

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By SHAWN MCCREA, Design Manager

Starting in October, Amarillo College will offer stipends to students who participate in two new career-accelerator courses. On Thursday, Aug. 31, Dr. Russell Lowery-Hart, the president of Amarillo College, announced that two free 10-week introductory courses, or sprints, will be offered at the Innovation Outpost.

According to AC officials, the courses are designed to allow graduates to join the workforce after completion. “At the end of those 10 weeks, they’ll immediately be able to walk into jobs, both locally and nationally,” Lowery-Hart said. “The pay range will be between $60,000 to $90,000 from a 10-week investment,” he said. The two courses are in full stack web development and Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud certification.

Not only will students attend the courses free of charge, they will also be given $2,500 to attend full time. This monetary incentive is made possible by the $15 million that philanthropist, MacKenzie Scott, gave AC this summer.

“It’s critically important that we give students a way of learning these skills in compressed time so they can get into the market,” Mark Nair, the full stack web development instructor said. “There are so many jobs available for full stack developers right now. And a lot of those jobs are remote. For me, I want to make sure that we have this so we can give this opportunity to students. A lot of those students don’t want to go through the normal, traditional two, three years for an associate degree.”

Full stack web development will focus on the foundational knowledge of JavaScript, plus the latest technologies of React, HTML, CSS, Git, MySQL, as well as software architecture

principles. Students will graduate from this course with the knowledge to build for the web and the potential to jump-start into a career in coding.

The Cloud Certificate sprint will focus on AWS’s cloud infrastructure and will prepare students to receive the AWS Cloud Practitioner and AWS SysOps Administrator certifications.

“Coding is the future,” Alex O’Brien, the CEO and president of BOC Bank in Amarillo, said. “If you want to assure yourself a position in the future of the world, and the future of where things are headed, please, please get involved in coding.”

The courses are open to anyone in the Amarillo community. “If you can turn on a computer, if you can save a file, you have the skill set that we can build upon to either be a full stack web developer or a cloud skill architect,” Lowery-Hart said.

Class size is limited. Applications for the full stack web development course are due by Sept. 13. Applications for the AWS academy sprint are due by Sept. 30. Classes will run from Oct. 11 to Dec. 17.

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