Biden cites need for technical training in St. Louis visit

ST. LOUIS (KTVI) - Vice President Joe Biden visited St. Louis Friday to promote high-tech training for non-traditional students. He spent more than an hour with graduates and students at LaunchCode, a not-for-profit training program that connects corporations and students through apprentice programs.

Biden praised LaunchCode founder Jim McKelvey for the innovations he brought to the training system. McKelvey began the program in St. Louis to help fill the shortage of computer coders and software developers in town. At least 300 graduates of the four-month program are working in full-time jobs with good salaries.

MasterCard executive Rob Reeg said his company uses LaunchCode to bring diversity to its workforce. Other executives spoke about adjusting standard hiring requirements in order to hire someone without a college degree. They said life experience, coupled with the training at LaunchCode, has produced some excellent employees.

The vice president announced an additional $40 million in grants for scholarships for women and minorities, who are underrepresented in the tech sector.

“There is really a high payoff in the tech area, with really high salaries,” he said.

Biden added it is estimated the nation will need 1.2 million IT (information technology) jobs by 2022.

For more information on the free training go to LaunchCode.org.

Biden also did some campaigning for Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Jason Kander who is running against incumbent Sen. Roy Blunt. The two spent lunch at the Goody Goody Diner on Natural Bridge in north St. Louis, shaking hands and posing for photos. Biden then appeared at a Kander fundraiser in Clayton.