PORTLAND -- Businesses in Oregon are having a tough time filling open jobs.

A new report by the Oregon Employment Department finds nearly half of all jobs were very difficult to fill.

But a new effort called Code Oregon that started Thursday offers free coding lessons to teach prospective employees how to develop software apps and fill the void in the high tech sector.

Worksystems is working on the program with Portland-based Treehouse, an interactive educational online coding school.

Right now there are some 700 open high-tech jobs in the state, with starting salaries of $45,000 to $70,000.

The need for coding expertise is expected to keep increasing. By 2020, there will be a million more computer programming jobs in the United States. About 10,000 of those will be in the Portland area.

Worksystems and Treehouse are offering any resident of Oregon, at least 18 years old, two years of free on-line coding instruction.

What we are doing basically is an opportunity for people to learn how to code to make apps in their free time. said Ryan Carson, co-founder & CEO of Treehouse. They don't have to go to college .

Also, as part of CodeOregon, job placement help will be offered.

Click here for more on CodeOregon

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