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Startup company believes area residents can fill high tech jobs

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — A startup company is looking for residents in the region who would be interested in becoming an apprentice to learn the coding language of a large software company.

CentralApp, based in Huntington, has already trained eight eastern Kentucky residents and is now focusing its efforts on West Virginia, CentralApp Chief Creative Officer Jessica Kennedy said.

“We’re training people specifically to speak the Salesforce coding language, to learn how to manage the software development initiatives and these applications within Salesforce and to help clients (of Salesforce),” Kennedy said.

There are lot of software coding needs in the U.S. but many times companies outsource the jobs to foreign countries where there are a number of obstacles. CentralApp’s goal is to train a workforce in Appalachia, Kennedy said.

“What they’d really like to do is bring those jobs back home here and they think Appalachia is a place that could definitely be good to work because, as we know, a lot of people in Appalachia are underemployed, Kennedy said.

London, Kentucky, resident James Boggs, 34, left his 15-year construction career a few months ago to begin training with CentralApp. He completed the apprenticeship and is now coding for Salesforce. Boggs said there’s no reason to be intimidated by a high-tech job.

“Anyone who is determined can come here with a basic set of skills and learn how to do what they are trying to teach,” Boggs said.

CentralApp has three town hall meetings scheduled over the next two weeks:

Sept. 11 at 6 p.m. – Fayette Institute of Technology

Sept. 14 at 6 p.m. – Cabell County Career and Technical Center

Sept. 19 at 6 p.m. – Spring Valley Career and Technical Center

The application deadline for the eight-month apprenticeship program is Sept. 22. Those interested do not have to attend one of the town hall meetings to apply, Kennedy said.

There will eventually four training locations set up in West Virginia. The goal is for people to be initially certified in three areas with the opportunity of being certified in other areas with Salesforce with the opportunity to build their pay. There are also stipends available during the apprenticeship.

The program is funded by a number of grants through the Appalachian Regional Commission working with the West Virginia Development Office, West Virginia Department of Education, Workforce West Virginia and The EdVenture Group.

More information is about CentralApp is available at www.centralapp.us

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