The coronavirus pandemic has had drastic effects on the world’s economy and in particular, the United States. Last week, the Labor Department reported that more than 22 million unemployment claims in the last four weeks, essentially wiping out all of the jobs created since the last financial crisis in 2008.
To help the newly unemployed, Codecademy is kickstarting a new initiative aiming to help those who have either lost their jobs or been furloughed because of the economic crisis caused by the spread of COVID-19.
For every person who joins Codecademy Pro, the company will grant five Codecademy Pro memberships to workers that have been furloughed or laid off due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
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By the end of the campaign, they hope to have given out 100,000 free Pro memberships, writing on their website that “learning to code can make you feel empowered and set you up for future career success by developing valuable technical skills.”
“As recent unemployment numbers suggest, we are facing what may be the biggest economic disruption of our lifetime, to make no mention of the massive toll in human lives,” Codecademy CEO and founder Zach Sims said in a press release.
“All of us–especially those whose livelihoods have been disrupted–should consider how we can continue to adapt our skill sets to an uncertain economy.”
Any workers who have been affected by COVID-19 will have the chance to apply for the scholarship beginning on April 23.
Dozens of people have already gotten the free accounts during a trial run of the program last month, with each telling Codecademy how much they have been helped by the ability to learn new coding skills.
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A quarantined factory worker from Mississippi who spoke to Codecademy and was identified only as Alan M. said it was a very challenging time emotionally because of the economic uncertainty.
“My wife, who works in the restaurant business as a chef, also lost her job the day after I was asked to quarantine. Having access to Codecademy Pro is helping to give purpose to my days during this time of uncertainty,” Alan told Codecademy. “I try to make a little progress every day working through a module or two. I have always had a desire to learn more about coding and to expand my skills; having the time and access to Codeacademy is giving me hope that I can strengthen my coding skills.”
Dozens of others have emailed Codecademy about the program, saying the quarantines and shelter-in-place orders have given them a chance to learn useful new skills that may help them contribute in some way to the efforts to fight the virus potentially.
Codecademy has already provided help to school children since the coronavirus pandemic took hold of the world, launching a scholarship program on March 14 that gave away 10,000 Codecademy Pro scholarships to students affected by the pandemic. That program did better than they expected, reaching 10,000 in just three days.
The company ended up handing out 100,000 Pro scholarships to students at 15,000 institutions in 147 countries across the world.
“By partnering with our community, we are using education to grant new economic opportunities to any worker who is trying to reskill or upskill during this trying time,” Sims said.