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Entire Base Camp Class Have Job Offers

The inaugural class of Base Camp Coding Academy all have job offers when they graduate on May 6. The class includes (back row, from left) James Siebert (Lafayette, FedEx), Adam Tutor (Pontotoc, CSpire), Jacob Spence (Water Valley, FedEx), Keegan Faustin (Water Valley, CSpire) and James Hakim (Oxford, FedEx) and (front row) Martin Guzman (Oxford, CSpire), Milttreonna Owens (Water Valley, FedEx) , Nicole Shelton (Water Valley, CSpire), Addey Welch (Water Valley, FedEx), Rickey Keisling (Lafayette, MTrade), Eddrick Butler (North Panola, FedEx). – Photo Provided

By Kagan Coughlin

Special To The Herald

WATER VALLEY –  Base Camp Coding Academy (BCCA) has successfully placed all 11 members of its inaugural graduating class in information technology-related jobs.

The non-profit charity, which provides under-advantaged youth with fast-paced, focused vocational training in computer programming to support the technology needs of local and regional employers, announced Monday that its entire 2017 graduating class received job offers.  

FedEx Services has hired six of the graduating students as IT support associates at the FedEx World Technology Center in Collierville, Tenn.  Students will have the opportunity to transition into full-time roles at the end of the summer.  The positions are in software and hardware engineering. 

FedEx recently launched the Pathfinder Program, designed to seek out top talent for hire from non-traditional educational paths, and Base Camp Coding Academy was a perfect match.   

“The caliber of the education, which simulates a traditional 40 hour work week, coupled with deep hands-on coding education and soft-skill development, created graduates with excellent potential to thrive at FedEx,” said Bob Bortz, director of Projects & Talent Development at FedEx.

C Spire, a Ridgeland, Miss.-based telecommunications and technology company, hired four Base Camp graduates in full-time, paid summer internships with the potential to convert into full-time permanent jobs at the end of the internship period.  

Base Camp students had a chance to visit C Spire earlier this spring to tour company operations, talk with executives, and interview for the summer positions.  Recently, three students returned for a week of job shadowing, where they saw all they have learned over the last 11 months, applied on the job.

“Base Camp students have demonstrated strong project-based coding experience, coupled with a hunger to learn and grow, which is an ideal fit for our company culture,” said Carla Lewis, CIO for C Spire and a founding BCCA board member.  “

After hosting a shadowing week for students, Oxford, Miss.-based mTrade made a full-time job offer to one student.  “I’m passionate about assessing a candidate’s skills and potential more so than whether or not they have a degree,” said mTrade CTO Zack Watts, noting that software engineering is a field that lends itself to alternative education.

“Technology is changing so rapidly that seasoned engineers need to self-educate to stay current and there are plenty of online tools to do so.  The Base Camp education provided a strong foundation that we can easily build upon with real-world experience,” Watts added.  

With their mission of providing 100 percent scholarships to all students accepted into the year-long coding program, Base Camp was thrilled to receive a sponsorship grant from FedEx.

“We are deeply appreciative of this generous donation and look forward to our continued relationship with FedEx,” said Bethany Cooper, founding trustee of Base Camp.

The success of the inaugural class at Base Camp came to the notice of Jan and Lawrence Farrington, a couple with a long history of investment in entrepreneurship and philanthropies across Mississippi.  The Farringtons have joined the community of businesses, philanthropists, and educational institutions making Base Camp possible as Founding Sponsors.  

“This donation means a great deal coming from Jan and Lawrence, Farrington, true leaders and philanthropists supporting technology in Mississippi,” noted Glen Evans, co-founder of Base Camp Coding Academy and President of FNC, Inc.  

Each Founding Sponsor and Partner make Base Camp possible and allow it to operate with zero cost to the students.  This group of business, education, and philanthropic leaders includes Northwest Mississippi Community College, Diane and Dick Scruggs, the CSpire Foundation, Paige and Glen Evans, FNC / Corelogic, the John N. Palmer Foundation, Renasant Bank, and now FedEx and Jan and Lawrence Farrington.

Base Camp Coding Academy also cited other recent community sponsors who have shown their support, including Leigh Anne and Sean Tuohy on behalf of their Make it Happen Foundation, Brainshark, Inc., a web-based software company in Waltham, Mass., and the AOL Charitable Foundation.

For more information , go to  To nominate a student for the full scholarship program, contact Kagan Coughlin at The 2018 class will begin on June 1.

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