Our Growth in Philly

LaunchCode is excited to be a part of the City of Brotherly Love! Seeing the immense potential to stimulate growth and open new doors in the region’s tech sector, we expanded our unique job training model to Philadelphia in early 2021. Like St. Louis and Kansas City, Philly is a thriving city with a growing tech and startup sector that is experiencing significant digital skill and tech talent gaps. We found a significant number of jobseekers from nearly every walk of life ready to learn new skills and launch careers in tech and we don’t plan to stop. 

Our Focus Remains the Same in Philly: 

  • Work to close the tech talent gap and keep high-wage careers in the region by providing free tech education and job placement
  • Recruit community members seeking new career opportunities in tech, offering upward mobility and life-changing wage increases 
  • Grow and expand the diversity of the local tech and startup workforce
  • Work with employer partners to change the way they think about hiring tech talent through a skills-based hiring approach

“Philadelphia has really grown into a tech hub of our own,” said Erin Davison, market engagement manager for Philadelphia operations. “From a social impact and economic development standpoint, the value that LaunchCode brings is clear. We are able to come in, educate folks for free and create pipelines for communities directly into high-earning tech roles.”  


ENIAC-1946A Hub for Innovation and Tech

FUN FACTS 76 years ago the first modern computer, the ENIAC, was built and unveiled to the public in Philadelphia. Philly has since continued to show itself off as an innovative and technology-forward city. Major corporations like Comcast are headquartered here, it is home to more than 1,500 unique and successful startups like Gopuff, dbt Labs, and NeuroFlow and has been ranked as a top city for women in tech. All of this plus the booming growth Philly has seen over the last few years have signaled a need for significant investment and growth to the tech talent pipeline and why LaunchCode saw this as the perfect next place to call home.

(Image Credit: Moore School of Electrical Engineering, University of Pennsylvania)


Community partnerships helping us close the digital skills gap

Pivotal to our launch in Philly, is the community partnership we formed with Elevate 215 (formerly the Philadelphia School Partnership) through their career and technical education expansion plan. Elevate 215 serves as a catalyst and invests in partnerships that prepare Philly community members for the world of tomorrow by modernizing the learning experience. Their grant support and investment in our mission helped us hit the ground running in 2020. With these funds and guidance, we were able to create a dynamic team with a valuable mix of backgrounds and experiences led by our Philadelphia-based team and a local Board of Advisors made up of industry professionals. 

“The pathway to a meaningful career typically takes many different routes. Our partnership with LaunchCode is grounded in our belief that students should have access to diverse learning experiences that build the skills they need to thrive, reach long-term economic security, and pursue their passions. LaunchCode provides students with a robust, experiential program that prepares them for a meaningful, full-time career. This is an excellent example of a career pathway program.”

- Dr. Stacy E. Holland, Executive Director of Elevate 215

Additionally, the Lenfest Foundation made a significant grant award in 2022 to support our ongoing programs and outreach in Philly through their career pathway lens. We are working with the Foundation to target job seekers and equip them with the necessary knowledge, skills, experiences and credentials to succeed in high-quality tech careers that offer economic empowerment.

In 2023, our Philly course catalog includes Part-Time Web Dev and our innovative Apprenticeship Program, with more programs possibly coming soon. Together, our first two PHL Part-Time Web Dev cohorts in 2021 & 2022 had over 1,300 applications and enrolled 250+ students. Thus far, we have seen over 120 individuals graduate from these no-cost tech training programs ready to launch their careers in tech. Of the participants in these courses, more than 70% were BIPOC, 53% were women or nonbinary folx, and 54% were from low-to-moderate income households before entering our program. Similar to LaunchCode’s efforts in other regions, these demographic targets work to reflect the population of the area. The stories shared by our first cohort of PHL LaunchCoders are truly inspiring. Check out the heartfelt graduation to see for yourself!

“This has been an experience that has personally taught me so much and I am sure that all of my classmates can agree that outside of teaching us to code, LaunchCode has taught us so much in regards to tenacity, diversity and inclusion, communication skills, how to deal with social groups of different people.” - Starr, PHL Part-Time Web Dev Graduate

Starr had always been interested in computer science and when her Nanna died, she left her a gift - her first computer. Unfortunately, her teachers and peers discouraged her from pursuing a career in technology and existing code camps were outside the realm of possibility. LaunchCode’s presence in Philly changed that for her.

“I am happy to say that being a woman, a person of color and LGBTQIA does not make you ‘less than’ as far as a technologist and anything you go through in life. By being able to add to the 3% of Black women in tech, I hope to inspire a whole other generation to pursue the same opportunity and believe that no matter where you come from or who you are, you can do this and we are the future.”

Graduates from the first PHL Part-Time Web Dev cohort (left) have moved into our Apprenticeship program that will help place them into paid apprenticeships with local employers in need of driven and diverse tech talent. As of October 2022, LaunchCode has helped 108 Philadelphia community members start careers in technology, with an average starting salary of $69,632.

We’d like to extend a BIG thank you to our employer partners who believe in our mission and value the skills held by unique, nontraditional, LaunchCoder candidates. So far we have partnered with a variety of employers in Philly including Comcast, FreedomPay, USLI, Neuroflow and Accenture and look forward to growing that portfolio. 

LaunchCode is very grateful to both Elevate 215 and the Lenfest Foundation for helping make tech careers accessible to people from all walks of life in Philly - especially our fellow community members who have immense potential, but just need barriers knocked down and people to believe in them. Expansion to new cities can seem like a big risk, but these community partners’ support and guidance has been instrumental to our local success and impact.


To learn more about our programs check out our website and also check out our 2021 Impact report.