now happening at c spire

First C3 Jr. Coding Challenge for Elementary School Students Gets Underway


Outgrowth of C Spire’s Tech Movement initiative designed to build workforce of the future today

Jackson, Miss., (September 20, 2018) – News media representatives are invited to attend the first statewide coding challenge today for elementary school age children – part of the C Spire Tech Movement initiative designed to encourage and inspire students to pursue an academic degree or career in IT and computer science. C Spire is partnering with the Mississippi Children’s Museum (MCM), which is hosting the event in conjunction with the 2018 Mississippi Science Fest.

The half-day C3 Jr. program at the MCM in northeast Jackson will feature teams of up to four students each from fourth grade classes in 15 public and private elementary schools across the state competing for bragging rights and tech-related prizes. C3 Jr. will help kick off the 2018 Mississippi Science Fest in the LeFleur Museum District on Sept. 21 and 22.

Students and a teacher or sponsor from each school will use critical thinking and problem-solving skills to navigate an obstacle course and showcase their creative and technical abilities during the competition. C Spire has assigned employees with IT backgrounds and experience to help each team. Members of the top three teams will receive trophies and tech-related prizes.

Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, C Spire CIO Carla Lewis and Mississippi Children’s Museum President and CEO Susan Garrard will discuss the importance of information technology and computer science in workforce development and helping attract high-paying, quality jobs to Mississippi during a special, 12:20 p.m. press briefing at the museum.

“Competitions like C3 Jr. show students exactly how the skills they learn can translate into jobs in the real world, and I commend C Spire and the Mississippi Children’s Museum for their work,” Reeves said. “Preparing young Mississippians for the good-paying jobs of a high-tech global economy is critical to our state’s future economic success.”

C3 Jr. is patterned after three successful C3 coding challenges for high school students C Spire has conducted in the last year involving teams from dozens of high schools and over 320 students as part of the company’s Tech Movement initiative designed to leverage its technology leadership and investments to help transform its service areas.

Pepper, a four-foot tall humanoid robot from Softbank Robotics America with a tablet for a chest, also will be on hand interacting with students and other guests participating in the competition. 2018 has been designated as S.T.E.M. Year by the National Science Foundation and to emphasize science, technology, engineering and math education in the U.S.

The company-sponsored coding challenges and support for other public and private programs like the Base Camp Coding Academy and the Mississippi Department of Education’s Computer Science for Mississippi 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. 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.

  • Thursday, September 20, 2018
  • 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. (special press briefing at 12:20 p.m.)
  • Mississippi Children’s Museum
  • 2145 Museum Boulevard
    Jackson, MS 39202
  • Tate Reeves, Lt. Governor, state of Mississippi
  • Carla Lewis, CIO, C Spire
  • Susan Garrard, President and CEO, Mississippi Children’s Museum

Other elements of the C Spire Tech Movement initiative include creation of a state-of-the-art digital customer care platform, massive deployment of broadband internet for homes and businesses and other leadership initiatives designed to drive innovation and development of a 21st century technology workforce.

To learn more about the importance of science, technology, engineering and math, visit the C Spire Tech Movement page at

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 customers. 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