Our state cares about refugees. This is our response to a growing technology gap that is leaving certain citizens without the proper job training to land great-paying, unfilled jobs in tech.”

Four times per year, the Power of Service Award is given in Utah. It’s purpose is to recognize people or organizations within Utah that have balled out at serving others — I’m pretty sure this is the official description for the award, but I might be wrong on that.

Regardless of the official description, V School has recently been bestowed the Power of Service Award for their work with the Refugee Coding Project, a program designed to help refugees within Utah learn how to code. Alongside a slew of other Utah-based organizations — including Cotopaxi, Adobe, Sustainable Startups, Goldman Sachs, Utah Open Source, Department of Workforce Services, and Westminster College — V School has provided volunteer hours to help this program grow, teaching potential coders from six different refugee communities (Burundi, Bhutan, Congo, Burma, South Sudan, Sudan).

“The irony is that the more time we spend serving our refugee communities, the more light, passion, and friendship these kids give us,” said Mo Reeder, CMO of V School. “It’s a lopsided relationship really, with us on the receiving end more often than not.”

As part of the program, youths from these refugee communities participated in a 20-week course based upon Code.org curriculum and taught by volunteers from the above organizations. V School hosted a hackathon at the end of May to let students showcase their skills and potentially help them on the road towards become professional developers. And as all Utahns know, developers are always in high demand.

“Our state cares about refugees,” said Reeder. “This is our response to a growing technology gap that is leaving certain citizens without the proper job training to land great-paying, unfilled jobs in tech.”