now happening at c spire

C Spire hosts next C3 coding challenge for high school students on Oct. 30


Part of Tech Movement initiative aimed at developing jobs and careers for the workforce of the future

Ridgeland, Miss., (October 29, 2018) – C Spire, a Mississippi-based wireless, technology and broadband company, is convening its fourth regional coding challenge in less than two years this week to encourage and inspire high school students to pursue a degree and career in information technology and computer science.

The day-long C3 program on Tuesday, Oct. 30 at the company’s Ridgeland headquarters will feature teams of up to four students each from 26 high schools across the state competing for scholarships and other tech-related prizes. Three previous competitions have featured teams from 62 high schools and over 260 students in 30 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.

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. Lobaki, a Clarksdale-based virtual reality firm, plans to provide demonstrations throughout the day.

“Building on our highly successful earlier coding challenges, 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 an academic and career path.”

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.

Lewis said it’s never too early to start preparing students for a technology-infused future. Research shows that by the time children in grades K-6 graduate from high school and college, 60 percent will work in jobs and professions that do not exist today. “Jobs and professions change and we need to inspire, educate and prepare children for a new tomorrow,” she 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, but last year the number of students successfully completing the test grew to 105, according to, a computer science education advocacy group.

Lewis said the company-sponsored coding challenges and support for other public and private programs like the Base Camp Coding Academy and a recent partnership with Mississippi State University Research and Curriculum Unit’s Center for Cyber Education are designed to help C Spire deliver on its promise to help create and retain a 21st century technology workforce in its region.

C3 is part of a broader C Spire Tech Movement initiative designed to leverage the company’s technology leadership and investments to help move communities forward with technology. Other program elements include massive deployment of broadband internet for homes and businesses and other leadership initiatives to drive innovation and development of a 21st century workforce.

“We live in a software-defined world where coding and the internet strongly influence 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 train teachers and encourage schools to offer courses for young people to pursue IT and computer science as viable career choices.”

To learn more about the C Spire Tech Movement initiative, visit

About C Spire
C Spire provides a full suite of world-class, customer-inspired dedicated Internet, IP Voice, data, managed services, cloud services, value added resale and mobile communications to businesses and wireless, 1 Gigabit consumer Internet access and related home services for consumers. 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