Through the workforce development program, 10,000 Multnomah County residents will learn coding

By 2020, there will be 1 million more computer programming jobs in the United States than workers to fill them, with 10,000 of those positions in the Portland metro region.

To prepare area residents with the skills needed to land these jobs, a recently launched workforce development program called Code Oregon aims to build the region’s future technology workforce.

Through an online learning platform developed by Treehouse, a Portland tech start-up, 10,000 Portland area residents will receive free coding education.

Worksystems, the workforce investment board for the city of Portland, Multnomah and Washington counties, will then place graduating Treehouse students in jobs with leading technology companies with the help of The Technology Association of Oregon.

“Treehouse and Worksystems get it," said Oregon Rep. Chris Gorsek, D-Troutdale, who serves as vice chairman of the House Transportation and Economic Development Committee as well as serving on the House Higher Education and Workforce Development Committee. "Education, job creation and economic growth go hand in hand. In East County and throughout the state, the key to our success is getting people the skills they need to find a good job and put our economy back on track.

"Code Oregon understands that it’s going to take businesses, educators, nonprofits and workers all pulling the same direction so businesses have the staffing they need and workers can get a good job."

Along with bolstering the technology talent pipeline to help the state’s growing software sector, Code Oregon supports Treehouse’s national Code-to-Work initiative, which is designed to teach anyone how to code and then secure jobs in the industry.

Code Oregon will use Treehouse to teach residents in-demand skills in web design, app design and programming. Worksystems will sponsor and distribute 10,000 Treehouse online learning accounts to teach area residents coding languages such as HTML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP and Ruby, and development for iOS, Android and WordPress.

Top students will be identified and receive additional career services, mentoring and training from Worksystems to be vetted as job ready. With the goal of connecting job-ready students with leading tech companies, Code Oregon will host a fall 2014 job fair.

To date, Treehouse has taught more than 170,000 students how to code. In the past year, Worksystems placed 35,400 Portland residents in jobs.

Computing jobs are growing at twice the national average and pay 75 percent more than the national median annual salary. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the median annual wage for computer programmers was $74,280 in 2012. The best-paid 10 percent in the field made approximately $117,890, while the bottom 10 percent made approximately $42,850.

“Code Oregon will establish Oregon as a software talent capital and create a more vibrant and diverse technology workforce by helping anyone become a successful computer programmer,” said Andrew McGough, executive director of Worksystems. “We are excited to create a prototype that can be scaled across the state and country to reboot depressed economies and provide a career path to high-wage jobs.”

For more information about Code Oregon, visit For more information about Treehouse’s Code-to-Work initiative, visit

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