WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) announced on Wednesday that New Haven’s LearnToProgram, Inc. is this month’s “Murphy’s Innovator of the Month.” Founded in 2011 by Connecticut residents Mark Lassoff and Kevin Hernandez, LearnToProgram offers online software development and design courses that prepare people – even those without any previous coding experience – to enter the computer science industry. Lassoff created LearnToProgram’s first course, called Introduction to Javascript, while recovering from colon cancer. The course quickly became the most popular of its kind on Amazon, and the startup’s revenues grew 300%.

Over the last 7 years, LearnToProgram has continued to grow. To date, the startup has served over 1 million students in 200 countries, and the team has released several new courses, including a Professional Development Program that allows students to earn up to ten IT certifications, build a portfolio, and become job-ready. Connecticut-based students also have the opportunity to attend in-person Professional Development Program classes. In 2013, LearnToProgram received Metro Hartford Alliance’s “Best Startup" Award and were labeled a “Company to Watch” by the Connecticut Tech Council. The startup employs four full-time workers and 15 part-time workers. LearnToProgram alumni work at Fortune 500 companies, non-profits, and Connecticut-based web development firms.

“The software development job market is booming – tech companies can’t fill jobs quickly enough. Luckily, LearnToProgram is helping fill the void,” said Murphy. “Mark, Kevin, and the LearnToProgram team are helping people get the skills and certifications they need to get hired.”

Mark Lassoff, Founder and President of LearnToProgram, said, “After six years in Vernon, we decided it would be advantageous to move to a city and chose New Haven. Being on the train line, and in a city with a concentration of technical talent has led to unprecedented growth this year.  We have over 20 projects in some stage of development and have already released two new courses this year with many more on the way.” 

Murphy believes entrepreneurship and innovation are building blocks for a strong economy. In the U.S. Senate, he has introduced two bipartisan pieces of legislation to incentivize angel investors to put more money into startup companies – the Angel Tax Credit Act and the Helping Angels Lead Our Startups (HALOS) Act. Last month, Murphy’s HALOS Act passed the U.S. House of Representatives. Startup companies create an average of 2 million jobs each year.