Time and again Delawareans make the most of the opportunities given to them. No stories highlight this fact more clearly than those of the first class of graduates from Zip Code Wilmington. The program was formed earlier this year to address one of the most important challenges facing our society: giving people access to the education and training required to thrive in an economy transformed by new technology – an economy that requires more skills than ever.
Through a partnership of the public, private, and non-profit sectors, Zip Code provides a 12-week, intense coding course for little to no cost. When the first class concluded a few weeks ago, the program had successfully resulted in IT jobs for every graduate – people like Joel Guevara, a Marine who had trouble finding full time work when he returned home from duty. When he saw the opportunity at Zip Code, he didn’t hesitate to apply and rise to the challenge. Today he’s a coder at Diamond Technologies, with salary double what he made before. Zip Code graduates entered the program averaging a salary of under $25,000, and left averaging nearly $55,000 per year. Stories like Joel’s remind us of the tremendous potential of our people to overcome challenges and thrive when given the chance – whether it’s workers gaining new skills, students attaining higher levels of educations, businesses increasing productivity, or state employees making government services more efficient.
In the coming year, our state’s leaders must continue to give our people and our institutions the chance to set and reach higher expectations. And we should never be satisfied with the status quo. I wish all Delawareans a very happy New Year and I look forward to working together in 2016 to keep Delaware moving forward.