Mailchimp and Clayton State University partner to create Launchpad Academy

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Mailchimp, a leading marketing platform for small business, has partnered with Clayton State University to train the next technology leaders. The company has invested $300,000 — over the course of three years — to establish Launchpad Academy, a leadership academy designed to prepare students and faculty to adapt to a rapidly growing digital economy.

“Mailchimp is thrilled to partner with Clayton State University in creating an environment of shared learning between the classroom and our workplace,” said Joe Uhl, Mailchimp’s VP of Operations. “Through Launchpad Academy, we’re able to support the often-undertapped southside of our Atlanta region by providing talented, local students with practical experience to better guide their career paths in technology. We’re thankful and proud to support CIM’s faculty and staff in their dedication to their students, university, and surrounding communities.”

A total of $25,000 in scholarships will be available for students in the program, while the other $275,000 will be designated for the development of the leadership academy.

The program, housed in the University’s College of Information and Mathematical Sciences (CIMS), combines curriculum in cloud computing, information security, data infrastructure operations, and software quality assurance, matched with experiential opportunities featuring Mailchimp’s team of experts.

“Our Clayton State computer science and information technology students learn a great deal in their classes about programming, computer architecture, software development and other fundamental technical skills. The collaboration with MailChimp gives our Launchpad Academy students further insights, beyond what they get from their classes, into additional practical skills required for success in today’s IT workplaces,” said Dr. Lila Roberts, dean of the College of Information and Mathematical Sciences. “Interaction with professionals at Mailchimp and experiencing collaborative workspaces that are typical 21st century environments help students understand the company culture.”

The Academy’s first cohort of computer science and information technology major students were recruited in the spring and will continue the program into the fall 2018 semester. Students will receive a mix of classroom instruction from Clayton State faculty trained by Mailchimp and hands-on learning from MailChimp employees.

As part of the coursework, students will conduct a project in which they will build software to address a problem that the Clayton State community faces. They have also done several site visits to Mailchimp’s Ponce City Market office in downtown Atlanta and have toured one of the agency’s data centers.

In spring 2019, the cohort will have the opportunity to apply for at least two annual, paid Mailchimp internship positions.

Mailchimp officials also plan to use Launchpad Academy to engage with students attending South Fulton and Clayton County public schools.

The idea for Launchpad Academy was developed out the Atlanta Regional Commission’s Regional Leadership Institute, a flagship program that brings over 50 leaders from various sectors within Atlanta’s 10-county region to address issues critical to the community.

Representatives from Clayton State and MailChimp partnered in the Institute’s 2017 class to develop Launchpad Academy to bridge knowledge gaps within the IT sector and foster next-generation leaders in the digital technology space.

“With Launchpad Academy, Mailchimp and Clayton State have created a wonderful opportunity for students to get real-world experience from an industry leader. ARC is excited to see graduates of our leadership programs taking what they’ve learned and making metro Atlanta a better place,” said Doug Hooker, executive director of the ARC. “We hope this collaboration is very successful and that it can be replicated by other businesses and universities around the region.”

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