All LaPorte County public schools celebrated the National Week of Code December 3rd – 7th by conducting coding activities at every grade level from Pre- K to High School Seniors. Nearly 12,000 students, which is almost 70% of all students in LaPorte County, participated in some capacity! The Hour of Code started as a worldwide effort designed to introduce students to computer science and demystify “computer coding.” For the past three years, talented teachers in each school corporation, have participated in some type of coding experience.This year, for the first time, all LaPorte County public school corporations coordinated efforts and resources for cool coding experiences throughout the week. Unity Foundation, with the help of Professional Volunteer, Linda Wiltfong helped to coordinate the Week of Code as a partner in the LaPorte County Skill UP grant. The LaPorte County Public Library helped school corporations by training educators in skills identified in the Indiana Academic Standards. Retired educators and engineers were also trained to provide some of the in- school experiences.The skills associated with coding help students develop academic skills, and build qualities like perseverance, organization, problem solving, and communication. The goal is to help students gain valuable 21st century skills and to create a talent pipeline of employees for the county and region. Mayor Mark Krentz even participated in Week of Code with preschool students at the La Porte County Public Library. Free coding programs were also available to give students an idea of how coding works were offered by the Library at most of their branches during the Week of Code. The La Porte County Skill UP Network, a county – wide effort, emerged when Mayor Ron Meer of Michigan City, La Porte Mayor Mark Krentz, with leadership from the Center of Workforce Innovations along with the Northwest Indiana Workforce Board, came together to apply for a Skill UP 3 grant from the Indiana Department of Workforce Development. The LaPorte County Skill UP Network brings together economic developers, many employers, K – 12 education, Purdue Northwest and Ivy Tech, the Unity Foundation, and the La Porte County Public Library to create a talent pipeline, with an initial focus on manufacturers in La Porte County. For more information on the LaPorte County Skill UP Network, contact Sandy Alvarez at 219 – 462 – 2940 or the Unity Foundation at 219-879-0327.