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C Spire to Host its Second C3 Coding Challenge for High School Students in 2017


Spurring more interest in IT-related education and careers part of company’s Tech Movement initiative

Ridgeland, Miss., (October 31, 2017) – C Spire is hosting its second computer coding challenge this year to inspire and encourage high school students to pursue a degree and career in information technology and computer science as part of a multi-faceted company-wide Tech Movement investment, service and support initiative.

The day-long C3 program on Wednesday, Nov. 8 at the company’s Ridgeland headquarters will feature teams of up to four students each from 30 high schools in 12 central Mississippi counties competing for scholarships and other tech-related prizes. An April event featured 13 teams from schools in Hinds, Madison and Rankin counties.

Students and an adviser from each school will use critical thinking and problem solving skills to solve a fresh computer coding challenge during the day-long competition. C Spire has assigned employees with IT backgrounds and experience to help each team. Members of the top three teams will receive college scholarships.

“Building on our highly successful inaugural event, we’re planning a fun, entertaining and educational day for all of the students who participate in the program,” said Carla Lewis, chief information officer for C Spire. “Hopefully, we can inspire and encourage them to seriously consider IT and computer science as a career path.”

Lewis said the company-sponsored coding challenges and support for other public and private programs like the Base Camp Coding Academy are designed to help C Spire deliver on its promise to help create and retain a 21st century technology workforce in its region.

Workers with a background in computer science are in high demand and short supply in Mississippi. Employers currently have over 1,200 unfilled job openings due to the serious shortage of trained, qualified IT workers, Lewis said. The average salary for qualified IT workers is nearly $69,000 a year, almost double the statewide average.

Nationwide, new research estimates that there will be a shortage of over 1 million software developers in the U.S. by 2020. “For all we know, the inventor of the next big thing or revolutionary app or software may be sitting in a Mississippi classroom waiting to be inspired and encouraged to become a leader in the digital economy,” Lewis said.

The C3 program can serve as an important first step to increase interest in computer science, according to Lewis. In 2016, only 16 students in the state took the AP computer science exam and only three schools statewide offered the AP computer science course in 2015-16, according to, a computer science education advocacy group.

C3 is part of a broader C Spire Tech Movement initiative designed to leverage the company’s technology leadership and investments to help transform its service areas. Other elements of the program include creation of a state-of-the-art digital customer care platform for customers and team members, massive deployment of broadband internet for homes and businesses and other leadership initiatives to drive innovation and development of a 21st century technology workforce.

“We live in a software-defined world where code and the internet directly impacts just about every aspect of our lives,” Lewis said. “Computer science drives innovation and creates jobs throughout our economy, but we need to do more to encourage schools to offer courses and for young people to pursue IT and computer science as viable career choices.”

For more information about C3, go to For more information on C Spire products and services, go to For background on the importance of coding in information technology and computer science, go to

About C Spire
C Spire is a leading technology company committed to transforming Mississippi through the C Spire Tech Movement, which includes the massive deployment of broadband internet to homes and small businesses, a state-of-the-art digital experience for its customers and team members, technology innovation leadership and the creation and retention of a 21st century technology workforce in its region. The company provides world-class, customer-inspired wireless communications, 1 Gigabit consumer Internet access as well as a full suite of dedicated Internet, wireless, IP Voice, data and cloud services for businesses. This news release and other announcements are available at For more information about C Spire, visit or follow us on Facebook at or Twitter at