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Guest column: Creating change out of challenge

By Allison Vance – Chief of staff, Regional One Health

Oct 20, 2020

Regional One’s chief of staff, Allison Vance HANNAH HUDSON

Now, more than ever, we need to build up the Memphis ecosystem for entrepreneurs. Forging unusual partnerships is one way to do that.


At Regional One Health, our Center for Innovation provides disruptive-thinking companies with insight into the health care industry, a place to test products, and a chance to develop their go-to-market strategy by offering access inside the walls of our health system.


To do some of this work, we need developers to execute “grit and grind” projects to test new concepts before investing in further development. We have found developers to be scarce in Memphis. But, CodeCrew, a local computer science education nonprofit, is creating solutions that meet this need through their Code School program, launched to increase the number of developers in Memphis.


A student who completes Code School’s six-month course is ready to begin an entry-level software development position. I first learned it existed when I participated on a grant review panel for the Community Foundation of Greater Memphis’ dollar-a-day membership program GiVE 365, themed around job creation and workforce development.


I was impressed with the job placement and salary guarantees Code School touted in its grant application, but I was sold when I heard a recent graduate’s story.


“I went from making $5,000 last year annually for three kids and myself to a job where I’m on salary making 10 times that amount,” she said. “I don’t know about you guys, but going to over $50,000 in less than six months has completely changed my life.”


This experience came full circle when facing a developer conundrum with Regional One’s Center for Innovation director Allie Alvarez. I was able to share this Code School presentation with Allie, who then spearheaded a partnership with CodeCrew to recruit interns ultimately seeking full-time employment.

Partnering with CodeCrew to provide internship opportunities to their Code School graduates benefits both of our organizations. CodeCrew enhances their value by providing their recent graduates an opportunity to grow their skillset while also connecting to potential future job opportunities, and the Center for Innovation is able to bring in developers to help advance its efforts in disruptive health care through technology.

COVID-19 has created many challenges for the health care industry, but it also has given us the opportunity to create change out of challenge — ultimately building new technologies, processes, and partnerships that will make care better post-COVID-19. We’ll be looking to expand our partnership with CodeCrew as we continue adapting to an even more virtually connected world.

Allison Vance is chief of staff at Regional One Health and serves as a member of the GiVE 365 volunteer Advisory Team.

Check out the Memphis Business article here

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