Code Platoon Trains Veterans and Military Spouses to Bolster High Tech Workforce

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HOST CLIFF KELLEY shares a cheerful moment with Alicia Boddy, director for Code Platoon and Navy veteran Michael Dorsey, a graduate from Code Platoon.

Code Platoon Director of Development, Alicia Boddy, and Code Platoon alumnus Michael Dorsey were guests on WVON’s America’s Heroes Group weekly show on August 31.

Based in Chicago, Code Platoon is a nonprofit organization training veterans and military spouses to become software development professionals through an immersive 14-week program.

Since 2016, Code Platoon has graduated nine classes, adding over 65 highly trained workers to the Chicago technology community. Classes are comprised of a variety of service branches, ranks, and educational experience. The only requirements to achieve success at Code Platoon are a commitment to learning, a tremendous amount of grit, and a passion for software development.

Code Platoon is an affordable option for veterans and military spouses because of generous philanthropic giving and a successful partnership with the Department of Veteran Affairs. Students may use various VA benefits to pay for Code Platoon, including the GI Bill, VET TEC, and Vocational Rehabilitation and Education. Students may also apply for scholarships through Code Platoon, guaranteeing no student ever pays more than $3,000 for the training program.

Students have the option to attend in-person or via live video chat, where they learn various coding skills and industry best practices. In addition to technical skills, Code Platoon weaves career preparation and other soft skills throughout the curriculum, ensuring graduates are well-rounded and ready for their first job upon graduation. Career prep includes resume’ fundamentals, LinkedIn profile building, interview preparation, and diversity and inclusion in the modern workplace.

Upon graduation, Code Platoon students interview with corporate sponsors to secure paid internships. Over 85 percent of graduates will be placed in a paid internship, alleviating the hurdle of finding that first job. Most internships become full-time employment for graduates.

The Code Platoon alumni association provides a support network for graduates, including continuing education, networking, and social events.

Dorsey, formerly an engineer with the Navy, and a 2018 graduate of Code Platoon, was inspired to code by his grandmother, who had a direct hand in coding the technology used by the Chicago Clearing House.

He is currently a site reliability engineer with Jellyvision in Chicago. In the Navy he was an engineer and in between his heroic efforts to build schools for girls in Africa, and to erect areas of operations for the military in Afghanistan, he started to fulfill his dream to code by teaching himself but learning on his own proved daunting.

Dorsey, who was interested in learning among his veteran peers, and utilizing his GI Bill benefits, found Code Platoon through a web search.

He says he feels at home in the Code Platoon environment. He is used to rules, which is exactly what coding is all about, creating and following rules. He is also accustomed to being extremely vocal with the people he is working with and consistently sharing details about the direction you’re heading. In the world of coding, coders have to talk to each other constantly about their work.

To learn more about Code Platoon and to apply for the training program visit codeplatoon.org.

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