In this edition of Member Monday, we look at how Bit Source is helping rural Americans trade coal for code.

Located in the heart of Kentucky coal country, Bit Source is a software company founded in 2015 with the mission of fostering the workforce of the future. Co-founders Rusty Justice and Lynn Parrish, two Pikeville, Kentucky businessmen, witnessed the gradual decline of their local coal industry and recognized the need to revitalize their state’s economy. The two men saw opportunity for tech sector growth in their Appalachian town, and from there, Bit Source was born.

The changes in Kentucky’s economy and shifts in the workforce are representative of a common trend throughout the country. Alongside the rapid growth of our country’s tech industry, a sector where the average computing job earns $102,160 yearly, there is a huge disconnect in the number of Americans with requisite skills to fill the available jobs. In fact, there are currently more than 500,000 computing jobs unfilled in the country, and that number will double to 1 million unfilled computing jobs by 2024. To address this need, Bit Source is committed to training local coal workers and preparing them for rewarding jobs in tech.

After combing through hundreds of applications, mainly from former coal miners looking for a career change, Bit Source hired their first ten employees and trained them as developers to support the company’s agenda. Bit Source specializes in agile software, mobile app, and website development, and their growth has positioned them to provide complete end-to-end solutions for marketing, business to business, mobile, and research and development needs across industries and vertical markets.

Though many tech and software companies provide the same services Bit Source offers, the Kentucky company is unique because of the people who drive their operation. The 15-person team is supported primarily by former coal miners who have made the shift from mining coal to writing code. Bit Source offers thorough computer science training for each person they hire, helping to equip the current workforce with the necessary skills to succeed in a tech-driven world, and inspire younger workers and students to pursue computing jobs.

Their endeavor provides both software solutions and workforce solutions to address to our country’s growing talent gap. With a strong dedication to workforce development, and the ability to train workers with computer science skills, Bit Source is in the position to prepare workers in Kentucky, and across the United States, for tech jobs of the future.

Next March, Bit Source has the opportunity to represent ACT | The App Association’s membership on a 2018 SXSW panel on workforce development. Bit Source founder Rusty Justice will join California Congressman Ro Khanna, former Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, and App Association President Morgan Reed to investigate the challenges in workforce development, and share how businesses, schools, government, and legislators each play a role in preparing American workers for a tech-driven future.

We encourage you to vote for this panel for 2018 SXSW.

For the United States to maintain its leadership in tech and innovation, we must equip our workers with the best tools. Bit Source’s initiative to help local, rural workers prepare for high-tech jobs should be shared with businesses in all corners of the country. Please vote for this panel to applaud the American innovators, entrepreneurs, and small businesses for thoughtful ways to address the talent gap, and ensure our country’s workforce development issues receive the platform they deserve.

To vote, comment, and share the 2018 SXSW panel “Future of Work: The New Collar Revolution,” click here:

To learn more about Bit Source, please visit: