Sprocket, Codefi and the area schools’ Youth Coding League are the topics for discussion at a webinar coordinated by the Paducah Area Chamber of Commerce’s Business Education Partnership (BEP) and Small Business Committee at noon on Tuesday, March 16. The event is sponsored by the McCracken County Public Library. It is open to the public for attending via Zoom by registering at paducahchamber.org.
The program will feature speakers sharing information about both Sprocket and Codefi and their growth and expansion in the area, the “First $50K” Tech Business Recruitment Program, and the Youth Coding League. The McCracken County Public Library is also a sponsor of the Youth Coding League, an after school enrichment program, offered to students at Clark, Morgan, McNabb, Heath, Lone Oak, Reidland, and Paducah Middle Schools.
The mission of the Chamber’s BEP is to develop collaborative partnerships between business and education, and become a pro-active voice for educational issues at the local, regional, and state level. The Chamber launched their Small Business Committee in 2020 to add additional input from local small businesses into the Chamber’s programs. “The joint partnership of the BEP and the Small Business Committee was a perfect tie in for this webinar on local innovation initiatives and our local school enrichment programs,” said Sandra Wilson, Paducah Chamber President.
Sprocket announced a formal partnership with Codefi of Cape Girardeau, Missouri, in August 2020. Together, these organizations are launching and creating economic development programs aimed at growing the digital economy, training workers, identifying seed funds, and developing tech-based businesses. Over the past four years, Codefi’s investment, workforce training and programming have resulted in the Cape Girardeau area’s creation of 50 start-ups, 180 jobs and $40 million in investment.
Sprocket will replicate some of Codefi’s programs, such as the “First $50K” program, in Paducah. Sprocket recently launched the West Kentucky Innovation Challenge in partnership with Codefi, Kentucky Innovation, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and will award up to $200,000 in Innovation Development service grants to five small businesses or individuals.
"We are always excited to share about the work we are accomplishing along with our partners," said Sprocket Director Suzanne Clinton. "The Youth Coding League sponsored by McCracken County Public Library and our First $50K Program are both initiatives that we believe will be game-changing in short- and long-term ways. We look forward to explaining why."
To register for the webinar, go to paducahchamber.org or call the Chamber at 270-443-1746.