Students at now defunct ITT Tech have options going forward

ST. LOUIS (KTVI) – New ways forward have emerged for ITT Tech students who thought they were at the end of the road. They found out their school was closing last week with no warning.

A place called LaunchCode in St. Louis is now reaching out to displaced ITT Tech students.

LaunchCode is a non-profit, recently touted as an example of how to fill an abundance of good-paying tech jobs with well-trained people.

Vice-President Joe Biden visited LaunchCode in St. Louis last Friday, a few days after the stunning ITT Tech announcement. It turns out, LaunchCode staffers were already working on a way to reach out to those stung hardest by the sudden closure of 136 ITT Tech campuses nationwide, including two here.

“We’re not an accredited institution so we can’t really offer that to the students,” said Zach Lou, LaunchCode’s Education Director. “But we can provide them with the skills they need to access jobs, which I think for a lot of the students going through a technical school like that are really looking for. They’re really just looking for a career. I think we have a pathway that is a viable career option for them.”

LaunchCode is offering to take displaced ITT students into its free, 20-week computer coding and job placement program. More than 90 percent of those who’ve gone on to apprenticeships have landed good-paying, full-time jobs, Lou said; a big reason for the Biden visit.

Still, that offers no help to students like Richard DePriest, who was in ITT’s nursing program.

St. Charles Community College is reaching out to virtually all former ITT Tech students, holding information sessions just for them to cover financial aid and credit transfer issues.

“We’re also going to have the opportunity for them to sign up and come in and talk to those departments one-on-one, so they can really go through what they’ve done and see how what they’ve already done can mesh with what we do,” said Dr. John Bookstaver, Interim Vice-President of Academic and Student Affairs at St. Charles Community College. “So, it all depends on how much they’ve already done at ITT and how much they have left to do.”

“I think some of these things might be blessings in disguise really,” Lou said. “I think as one door closes another door opens and we want to open our doors to those displaced students.”

Students can attend an information session from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. Saturday, September 17 at the LaunchCode Mentor Center, 4811 Delmar Blvd. in St. Louis.

The information sessions at St. Charles Community College will at 3:30 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 20, in room 205 in the student center on the campus at 4601 Mid Rivers Mall Drive in Cottleville. To register for a session, students should visit www.stchas.edu/ittstudent.