U.S. Tech companies face a giant tech talent gap—it’s projected that 1 million jobs in programming alone will go unfilled by 2020. The Marquette Tech District educates, attracts, and retains driven, talented youth and adults to help fill this need.

To help tech-focused companies thrive, we leverage all relevant resources and value-oriented programming that continues to develop the much needed talent.

Software Developers

The Marquette Technology Institute offers access to education from youth to adults that fosters talent to fuel local companies and help individuals develop highly demanded skills for careers in the tech economy. Since 2016, this initiative has introduced and trained over 100 adults and 100 kids in computer programming.

Code Labs One

Code Labs One is a course designed to introduce participants to computer programming, using the popular programming language, Ruby. This innovative 20-week program immerses participants in the fundamental skills entry-level programmers need to begin successful careers. The program’s success is based on the quality and relevance of the instructors/mentors, the practical curriculum, and the direct involvement of local tech employers.

Code Labs One students
Code Labs One students

All students will complete the same core curriculum during Units 1 and 2. In Unit 3, students will get the chance to learn in-demand skills as they develop a project under the guidance of a local employer. Incredibly, graduates who have gone on to receive jobs have seen their salaries increase by an average of more than 200%.

Youth Coding Camps

Youth Coding Camps are summer programs that teach basic programming and problem-solving skills. Elementary and middle school-aged kids program fun robots using the Scratch programming language. Kids put their robots through the paces by programming them to dance, run obstacle courses, play soccer, and more. More advanced programming sessions for junior high and high school students are also offered, teaching the building blocks of web and mobile app development such as HTML, CSS, JavaScript, user experience design, and more.

Youth Coding Campers
Youth Coding Campers

Youth Coding League

The Youth Coding League is a FREE after-school program for middle school students, supported by the Marquette Technology Institute, using Google’s CS First curriculum and the Scratch programming language. The Marquette Technology Institute implements the Youth Coding League at no cost to schools.

Youth coding league students
Youth coding league students

The Marquette Technology Institute provides support to schools with stipends and training for teachers, an MTi facilitator, and an innovative, competitive element and dedicated website at Students spend eight weeks being introduced to computer programming and then form teams that create projects to compete within their school. Teams compete to be their school champion, who then go on to compete against other area school champions for big cash and prizes.

The Youth Coding League enjoys a 50/50 female/male split in participants. Meanwhile, the software development industry average is 20/80 female/male.


"I knew that if given a chance, my students could be successful not just at basketball but with keeping up with the 21st century skills they so desperately need. I also knew that THIS opportunity could open doors for my students. It could inspire, motivate, challenge, and change students.

"I wanted to take a moment to try and explain the changes I have seen in my students who were in YCL. I have students that I’ve barely heard their voices. Faces who just float in and out of school, doing well, but just going to the motions day to day. I have seen students with severe behavior and anger issues try and make good choices so they can stay in YCL. I’ve seen students who have had attendance issues WANT to come to school. I’ve seen students who barely smile burst into laughter! I’ve seen students who did not fit in find their niche. Students who were shy are more open and outgoing. Students who have had issues with their grades or keeping up with their work be proud of themselves because their grades have improved. Those are just some of the changes. Changes directly related to being in YCL."

- Cristy Crites, teacher and Youth Coding League facilitator, Scott County Central Schools

Startup Economy

1ST50K is a startup competition that helps turn innovative startup ideas into scalable ventures. The competition offers tech startups extensive support from a broad business network, pro-bono development services, and up to $50,000 in cash grants to entrepreneurs to establish or locate their business in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. Since 2015, $250,000 in grants have been awarded to companies that have generated over $3 million in revenue and created over 30 jobs.