Public-Private Partnership Offers Free Coding Camps for Montgomery County Maryland Middle Schoolers
Montgomery Can Code Triples Enrollment to Nearly 1,000 in its Second Year, Introduces Students to Future Tech Careers
Montgomery College, Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) and the Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation (MCEDC) are collaborating with Apple to offer middle school students a summer camp experience, Montgomery Can Code. About 960 students are registered for the free camp, which is being offered virtually from the college’s three campuses. Students are learning the skills they need to pursue careers in the app economy by working in Swift, Apple’s easy-to-understand programming language. Students will also hear about a variety of exciting career paths from local businesses and use teamwork, presentation skills, project management, and problem-solving skills to imagine how to solve real world problems through technology.
The sessions are being taught through the College’s Information Technology Institute by instructors trained in Swift. The five weeklong camps are taking place July 13–August 14, running from noon to 3 p.m. The number of students participating is more than triple the number of last year’s total camp size.
MCEDC has arranged for businesses, such as American Gene Technologies (AGT), to speak to students about career paths. AGT CEO Jeffrey Galvin will discuss the skills he learned in coding, and how they inspired him to create the company and work with DNA, the human computer.
The Montgomery Can Code partnership not only promotes education but also the development of the talent pipeline necessary to sustain Montgomery County’s technology competitiveness. Local companies continue to search for highly skilled workers in fields like cybersecurity, gaming, life sciences, and hospitality technology. Early exposure to develop these skills provides students with a future advantage in being hired, and brings academia and the business community together to invest in the county’s future workforce.
“It is exciting to be building and expanding upon Montgomery Can Code this year with nearly 1,000 students ready to learn how to code. Students are truly eager to engage in Swift programming and enhance their technical proficiency that can help provide them future opportunities in this burgeoning career pathway,” said County Councilmember Craig Rice, Chair of the Education Committee.
During the camp, students learn to code using the Everyone Can Code curriculum and Swift Playgrounds for iPad, which showcases the multi-touch features of iPad, allowing students to use code to learn key programming concepts by solving puzzles. Swift Playground requires no coding knowledge, so it’s perfect for students just starting out.
“We were excited that our successful outreach efforts attracted almost 1,000 camp participants from across our county middle schools to participate in the Montgomery Can Code camp,” said Dr. Monifa McKnight, Deputy Superintendent of Schools. “We are committed to providing our students with opportunities to build their skills and learn about careers in STEM that require coding skills. Coding is a key pathway to career expansion both nationally and locally here in Montgomery County.”
“We envision many of these young people will one day enroll in college technology programs. Coding is a valuable skill set for our young people to bring to college and the workforce; it’s a high-demand career path,” said Dr. Sanjay Rai, Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs at Montgomery College. “Our young people can engage with Swift and our Montgomery College faculty at this early point in their education, helping to build confidence and interest in jobs of the future.”
Benjamin H. Wu, President and CEO of MCEDC, agrees. “Businesses consistently tell us one of their biggest needs is the talent pipeline. We have a real edge here in Montgomery County with our workforce. This Montgomery Can Code partnership, coupled with our education levels, our rich diversity and the quality of our schools, helps enhance our economic strength. We foresee today’s middle school coders will be our county’s future programmers, mathematicians, scientists and CEOs.”
Students will receive a free Montgomery Can Code T-shirt and a loaner iPad at the start of each session. Throughout the course, students will watch videos on the value of coding and participate in nonprofit challenges. At week’s end, participants will receive a certificate of completion.
The summer camp experience will culminate with a Student Apps Showcase event, which will highlight some of the students’ app solutions for solving problems they care about.
Learn more at Montgomery Can Code.