República Hires First Miami LaunchCode Apprentice

Miami, March 4, 2015 – LaunchCode opened applications for its apprenticeship program and celebrated the start of its computer science course in partnership with The Idea Center at Miami Dade College on March 4, at the Wolfson Campus. Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez spoke at the event in support of The Idea Center and LaunchCode’s mutual mission to provide technology talent to the South Florida region.

LaunchCode is a tech-employment non-profit co-founded by Square’s Jim McKelvey. Mayor Gimenez shared the stage with other speakers including McKelvey; Matt Haggman, Miami program director for the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, which provided major support to bring LaunchCode to Miami and establish The Idea Center; as well as Jorge A. Plasencia, an early LaunchCode supporter and co-founder & CEO of República. Both The Idea Center at Miami Dade College and LaunchCode are Knight Foundation grantees.

LaunchCode announced the opening of the application process for its apprenticeship program, which includes over 100 South Florida companies such as Burger King, Miami Children’s Hospital, Ultimate Software, Rokk3r Labs, Univision, Fusion, and República. In order to be considered for the first round of placements, candidates are encouraged to submit their applications through LaunchCode’s website ( by April 1.

“LaunchCode apprenticeships will help many Miami-Dade residents advance their careers,” said Mayor Gimenez. “Miami-Dade County has committed to hiring LaunchCode apprentices for our IT department and I encourage all South Florida companies to consider this innovative program,” he added.

Miami-based República is the first South Florida company to hire a LaunchCode apprentice. Nate Beers, a recently-trained web developer, started with the advertising and digital agency last month.

“República is proud to have hired South Florida’s first LaunchCode apprentice,” said Plasencia. “Nate has been doing great work and we look forward to bringing on more LaunchCoders in the future.”

In order to equip more people with computer programming skills, The Idea Center in partnership with LaunchCode, started its first Fundamentals of Computer Programming cohort. Based on Harvard University’s CS50 class (offered through edx’ free platform) the 16-week course supports more than 100 students who attended their first class yesterday.

“LaunchCode’s tech-centered job placement program, which works to expand economic opportunity, blends perfectly with The Idea Center’s mandate to create the next generation of young Miami entrepreneurs,” said Haggman. “The partnership is exemplary of the type of collaboration and connections needed to foster talent in our city and create a healthy, innovation ecosystem.”
“We’re excited to start placing apprentices here in South Florida,” said McKelvey. “Now is when the fun begins, when we start making companies more productive and changing people’s life.”


About LaunchCode

LaunchCode is a non-profit paving new pathways to economic opportunity and upward mobility through apprenticeships and job placement in technology. Founded in 2013, LaunchCode partners with companies to offer paid apprenticeships and job placement for people aspiring to work in technology. For more information, visit


About The Idea Center at Miami Dade College

The Idea Center @ MDC, an entrepreneurship hub that serves as a co-curricular engine of innovation and idea development for all MDC students across all disciplines, includes a venture incubator called CREATE to nurture and turn suitable student business projects into a reality. It is housed at the downtown Wolfson Campus but with college-wide programs.


About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit


Media-only contacts:

Juan Mendieta, MDC director of communications, 305-237-7611, [email protected]; Sue Arrowsmith, 305-237-3710, [email protected]; Roxana Romero, 305-237-7187, [email protected]; or

Allison Horton, 305-237-3359, [email protected].

Mariana Rego, LaunchCode South Florida expansion coordinator, 305-915-0498, [email protected]

This and other MDC releases are available on the web at