NEOSHO, Mo. — A new higher Ed project will focus efforts to help students connect with high tech careers. Crowder College has a big grant to work with students interested in digital careers.

“Neosho, Joplin, Webb City. Many of the junior high and middle schools were written into this grant,” said Chett Daniel, Crowder Research & Innovation.

Just a few of the schools that could see a new partnership building interest in digital careers. Crowder College won a $450,000 grant to look for innovative ways to grow career and technical education for local students.

“Develop that digital talent to allow them to participate in work that exists,” said Daniel.

The project would start as young as middle school – developing programs to encourage future job seekers.

“Students who have a background that understand the syntax and how coding works, then there’s opportunities in cybersecurity and computer network support and software development but even in advanced manufacturing,” said Daniel.

The “Catalyze Challenge Grant” would start with a Youth Coding League.

“They would be in this coding competition on an online platform — they could compete against other students but also be learning at the same time,” said Daniel.

It will also develop software development learning opportunities for high school students, which could lead to further classes at Crowder after graduation.

“Both locally and we have places where students can become developers or locally but if they choose to and they can, they can work remotely and have opportunities that access to great career opportunities,” said Daniel.

The goal is to offer the youth coding league at as many local school districts as possible. They’re planning to work on development in the coming months and launch next fall.