By Anna Lardinois, Startup Storyteller
Rex Academy and MKE Tech Hub Coalition have partnered to provide Milwaukee students with advanced tech skills.
The FUSE program, presented by MKE Tech Hub Coalition, is an opportunity for students to expand their technology skills in a summer program focused on professional development. The program runs from June 16 through August 8 and is free of charge to the students who were selected to join the cohort.
In addition to career coaching, students will participate in technology courses created by Rex Academy, a local company that provides online computer science education courses to schools across the nation. The cohort will complete educational modules in Data Visualization, the Python programming language, and Artificial Intelligence.
The courses provided are challenging college-level courses. Those who successfully complete the courses will have a basic competency in these emerging technologies.
Each learning module is a week-long program with three hours of instruction per day, according to Tapu Ahmed, the Director of Curriculum and Instruction for Rex Academy. The company is particularly excited to introduce the Data Visualization course, which was created for the FUSE program by Dr. Indira Vadapally, of Concordia University Wisconsin.
Ahmed said the goal was to expand technology education, from kindergarten through college.
“With the teacher shortages we’re experiencing and the lack of technology curriculum, Rex Academy’s primary goal is to get rid of all the barriers to learning computer science,” he continued. “This partnership (allows us to do that). We wanted to be a part of this where we help this young generation acquire some more tech skills and improve their resume, and then be more ready for the job market, which is a big part of what Rex Academy does as well.”
Rex Academy is rapidly growing and will offer more than 30 courses to school districts and colleges in the coming school year. The key differentiator between Rex Academy and other companies that provide online curriculum is the live teacher support they provide.
“A lot of people have curriculum, but you have to talk about the pain points of the teachers,” Ahmed said. “What do you do with the teacher who’s been teaching math and then suddenly the principal tells her, ‘Hey, I need you to pick up a section of computer science’? We provide services for making sure that we are able to support that teacher in a way we cannot just with curriculum, but with actual support.”
Company founder and CEO Sandhya Padala is currently participating in the OnRamp Education + Workforce Accelerator presented by gener8tor and ECMC Group. The startup was a semi-finalist in the prestigious 9th Annual Startup of the Year Summit earlier in the year and recently won third prize in the Summerfest Tech Pitch Competition.