#themoreyouknow: Clarksville edition
Written by: Alex Curtis | Posted Oct 5, 2016
  • 3rd largest military population in the Army and 7th largest population in the Department of Defense at 29,000 active duty military service men and women plus an additional population of 185,000 family members, military retirees, National Guardsmen, and more
  • Home to the 101st Airborne Division, 160th SOAR, 5th Special Forces and more. Some of the most specialized and highly trained men and women in our armed services, particularly amongst the base’s pilots, including Green Berets, Rangers, and Airborne Units.

Thanks to Kristin McKinney at Nashville Software School, the NTC finally made it to Clarksville to meet with burgeoning partners on workforce development matters. That trip builds on these relationships in what we think will be important and long-term connections between the talented men and women leaving our armed services and targeting Middle Tennessee’s tech sector for their next career.

First Stop: Clarksville-Montgomery County School System (CMCSS)
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We arrived first at Northeast High School, part of the CMCSS district, to check out their Academy of Computer & Game Programming. CMCSS “pocket academies” exist in blogzoned high schools, but students from any part of the district can apply via lottery to attend the self-contained academy, regardless of its geographic residence.

Students learn standards around gathering business requirements and graphics throughout their freshman and sophomore years, then begin coding games in unity in their junior year. Teachers are equipped with special Dell labs to support a gaming curriculum and also have a handful of Sphero’s and two Oculus Rifts to keep it extra interesting. The first class of students to progress through all four years of the Academy graduates this year and we could not be more impressed with what these trailblazers have been able to accomplish!

The teachers and Career & Technical Education (CTE) leaders have made serious strides on tech education on their own but they are yearning for great engagement with the business community to bring what they’re teaching to life for their young people. This could be field trips, guest speakers, skype lessons, or more. If you’re interested in getting engaged with a creative community that serves a unique population, get to know CMCSS – contact Jacqui Logan.

Second Stop: USO with Nashville Software School (NSS) and Tractor Supply Company (TSC)

Did you see the big news in August? NSS can now accept GI funding – the first coding bootcamp in the Southeast with that privilege and one of only five programs in the country to-date.

Getting that designation is just the beginning of the work, however. To get started on supporting and enrolling retired service members, NSS is beginning a regular series of Lunch & Learns with the USO in Clarksville. The NTC and TSC joined forces for the first visit with interested residents.

For an hour we had the opportunity to talk to and hear from a dozen service members and retirees as well as others engaged in the important work of helping with reentry to civilian life and the workforce. Questions ranged from specific funding options for veterans to where to get a ‘taste-test’ of coding to better understand a program like the NSS bootcamp. Todd Baxter, Director of Enterprise Architecture & Infrastructure Engineering at TSC, and former member of the Fort Campbell family, shared his strategy on hiring, finding that entry position to launch a new career, and the soft skills critical to success.

There is ample opportunity for these seasoned leaders to transition into our technology community and make a big impact not only on their own lives, but your company. If you’re interested in engaging alongside NSS for developer talent, contact Colleen Hoy for connection or Kristin McKinney or Laura Buchanan at NSS directly.

Final Stop: Fort Campbell’s Microsoft Software & Systems Academy (MSSA) Cohort 2

Over the last six months the NTC has had the privilege to get to know the folks in Clarksville launching the new MSSA program location, now in its second cohort. This 16-week development initiative focuses on inspiring and developing active-duty service members to fill the IT talent pipeline. Cohort members choose one of three paths:

  1. Cloud Application Development
  2. Server & Cloud Administration
  3. Database & Business Intelligence Administration

Each service member receives the following during their 16-week program:

  1. Technical & soft skills training
  2. Experiential class projects
  3. Classroom & individual mentoring
  4. Job search and support services

The NTC had a chance to talk about the tech landscape of Middle TN, the great companies hiring and growing in our region, the user group community that strengthens the innovation and connection across the city, and their access to We Build Tech to find great companies and great jobs waiting for them.

Most excitingly, the cohort will travel to Nashville to spend the morning touring BNY Mellon’s Processing Center (thank you, BNY Mellon!) and join the NTC for our Tech Talk with Tierpoint on November 10th. If you’re interested in meeting these individuals or getting to know the MSSA program, please join us for our Tech Talk on 11/10 or contact Colleen Hoy.

Connecting to our community means a lot, in 48 hours nearly the entire class has reached out via LinkedIn with messages like this:

“Thank you for coming in to talk to us MSSA students at the Fort Campbell base. It was short and brief, but it is huge. Most don’t get the opportunity to network with great people and organizations.”

Join us in building a bridge between our dedicated service members & leaders and the great tech opportunities growing in Nashville! Contact Colleen today.
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