Chattanooga: Building Kids and Codes, Literally

By Amanda Ellis

TechTown sees Chattanooga as a city poised for an economic explosion -- as the Southeast’s foremost innovation center, where the jobs one expects to be available in Silicon Valley are available in a southern city with a high quality of life. With talent the lifeblood of every innovation center, TechTown prepares young people for post-secondary success, be it higher education or a highly-skilled technology job right out of high school.

“I came to TechTown after working for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, where I was Chief of Staff for one of its divisions, and it was great place to work, but I’m a hands-on guy,” says TechTown Founder and CEO Cordell Carter.

TechTown gave him the opportunity to return to an upbeat hands-on approach and focus on education and educational disparities, which piqued his interest early in life as a military brat who often switched schools.

With an extensive resume ranging from leadership positions with the Seattle School District to leading operations for the National Alliance of Public Charter Schools, Carter has been a positive force in the U.S. educational system.

And he chose Chattanooga to launch TechTown, where students engage in hands-on creative work using 3D printers, robotics, state-of-the-art television production equipment, large production studios, game designing programs and other software bound to make tech nerds drool.

Carter says TechTown will be replicated in other cities.

“Ultimately this is not just about teaching kids how to code or do a one minute monologue,” says Carter. “This is about teaching students how to live: build something amazing. Because they are amazing.”

Sounds Chattanooga perfect.