A nonprofit called Mined Minds, promising to teach West Virginians how to write computer code and then get them good-paying jobs, was looking for recruits....Many West Virginians like Ms. Frame signed up for Mined Minds, quitting their jobs or dropping out of school for the prized prospect of a stable and lucrative career. But the revival never came.Almost none of those who signed up for Mined Minds are working in programming now. They described Mined Minds as an erratic operation, where guarantees suddenly evaporated and firings seemed inevitable, leaving people to start over again at the bottom rungs of the wage jobs they had left behind.Over two dozen former students in West Virginia are pursuing a lawsuit, arguing that Mined Minds was a fraud. Out of the 10 or so people who made it to the final weeks of Ms. Frame’s class in Beckley, only one formally graduated. He is now delivering takeout.
I realize this company's dysfunctions aren't representative of how all computer training and coding companies that have invested in Appalachia have acted, but the research I've done indicates that even the more reputable companies have had minimal impact on the communities there. The effort to teach unemployed coal miners to code has failed to live up to the self-generated hype, and will probably continue to do so.
This is an important example to remember when thinking about the future of human employment in the face of better robots and AIs.