The former Icebreakers nightclub at the corner of Market and Floyd streets downtown is the new home of Code Louisville and the Software Guild.
In another sign of the increasing presence of training programs designed to get local workers quickly up to speed on computer coding and related fields, the University of Louisville Foundation’s Nucleus center will provide the space for KentuckianaWorks, which operates the 12-week Code Louisville training program, and The Learning House, which acquired the Software Guild — a bootcamp program for aspiring coders — earlier this year. Code Louisville already has begun classes in the new space, while the Software Guild is expected to start in the fall.
The Foundation oversees Nucleus, a public-private partnership with NTS Development whose real estate is ostensibly geared toward housing enterprises that encourage innovation. It paid $793,550 for the building a year ago and has invested some $450,000 to renovate a portion of the 6,600-square-foot space for the coding programs.
Neville Pinto, the university’s acting provost and former dean of the Speed School of Engineering, called the partnership “what a premier metropolitan research university should be doing.”
Code Louisville, which drew national attention earlier this year after President Obama visited the city to tout the program, is offering its free 12-week training program in the building. Mayor Greg Fischer, whose administration helped create the program along with KentuckianaWorks and the federal government, pressed the need to train a local workforce that can respond more swiftly to the changing needs of businesses.
“Here in Louisville alone, we’ve got 1,700 job openings right now that require some type of technology software-coding applications,” he said, adding that Code Louisville is an “integral” part of his administration’s goal of luring better-paying jobs to the city. Persuading companies to move or expand here requires a well-equipped workforce, he said.
The Learning House, founded by a former U of L professor in 2001, bought the Software Guild in April. President and CEO Todd Zipper said on Wednesday he hopes to have 200 students enrolled in the intensive three-month bootcamp, which is the first in the city.
“The employers have needs, (and) if people believe that this educational experience will get them that job, it creates this nice virtuous cycle,” Zipper said.
The center is sponsored by Trinity Video Communications, which donated $75,000 worth of equipment in exchange for the naming rights, according to a U of L official. Vickie Yates Brown, president and CEO of Nucleus, told IL the Foundation has a letter of intent for the rest of the space but did not reveal any plans. The additional buildout would be in the range of $600,000, a university official said.