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Megan Smith

Megan Smith, U.S. Chief Technology Officer and Assistant to the President, at LaunchCode's Mentor Center in St. Louis on April 24, 2015. Seated is LaunchCode co-founder Jim McKelvey, former LaunchCode apprentice LaShana Lewis, and LaunchCode co-founder and executive director Brendan Lind.

LaunchCode's Mentor Center in St. Louis' Fountain Park neighborhood is slated to open Thursday night. 

The 10,000 square-foot center at 4811 Delmar Boulevard will offer coding training and other educational classes for youth and those who want to learn new skills to land a job, said the center's director Chris Bay. A free grand opening event that's open to the public is slated to run from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. 

LaunchCode was launched by St. Louis entrepreneur Jim McKelvey in 2013 to pair coders with engineers at local companies through apprenticeships. It has since expanded to Miami and Kansas City and is seeking to hire a national expansion director to create LaunchCode hubs in cities nationwide.  

U.S. Chief Technology Officer Megan Smith was at the Delmar property for the announcement in April when McKelvey announced plans for the Mentor Center.

The capital fund to renovate the center was $500,000, which is fully funded. The center has set a goal for the end of 2016 to raise $1.25 million for operations, with about $399,000 left to raise, Bay said. 

Some popular groups that previously met elsewhere in the region, including the women's coding group CoderGirl, are moving to the Mentor Center. Other coding bootcamps for youth and adults will also be held at the center operated by Chicago-based Blue1647.

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