JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - Workers with a background in computer science are in high demand and short supply in Mississippi.
That's why C Spire is partnering with Mississippi State University's new Center for Cyber Education.
The effort is to boost technology workforce in the state by helping high school students start software development careers one year after graduation.
The company is putting up more than a half-million dollars for the three-year pilot program unveiled Wednesday.
“Right now, in our state, we have over 1,400 computer jobs that are open," said C Spire’s Carla Lewis. "They’re open because we don’t have the skilled workforce to fill those jobs.”
“We’re putting our money where our mouth is. We’re actually putting in $550,000; over a half million dollars to this program," said Hu Meena, C Spire CEO. "That shows you how much we believe in it. It’s over a three year period of which we will be making those disbursements.”
The program plans to train 30 teachers and provide 140 students a year with computer science job opportunities after two years of specialized and course work in high school and one year in community college.
Starting pay is not bad, either. The average salary for qualified IT workers is more than $69,000 a year, almost double the statewide average.