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California Tech Company Offers Online Training in 5 Cities

Bitwise Industries is offering six-week online introductory courses in tech skills to five locations across the U.S., with financial assistance intended to recruit those who have been left out of the digital economy.

Tech training skills
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“ ” ‘ ’ —(TNS) — A technology company focused on developing a diverse workforce and reducing poverty that extends between generations has announced its expansion to Cheyenne, along with four other locations across the U.S.

Bitwise Industries operates one of the largest federally accredited apprenticeship programs, and provides careers for instructors and job opportunities for students. In order to make this happen, the priority is breaking down barriers for those interested in the field.

“Our goal is to bring our proven, repeatable approach to as many communities and people as possible,” said Bitwise CEO and co-founder Jake Soberal. “What has been successful in our first five cities will become part of these new regions’ stories of how investing in underestimated people and places can create a more inclusive and representative economy.”

The impact on Cheyenne will begin next month. Residents will be offered four online introductory courses on a tech skill for $250 each, and financial assistance is available for those who may not be able to afford the fee. If they continue to show interest in the industry and potential after one or more six-week courses, they have the chance to become an apprentice.

An apprentice is paid between $17 and $22 an hour to take classes and learn how to become an entry-level professional, with access to health care benefits, counseling, transportation and child care throughout the training. They can take courses virtually, but a rented-out workspace and classroom to build community will be available in the coming months.

When the average student comes out of the program, they go on to a position that makes more than $60,000 a year. The company reported it has trained up to 8,000 nontraditional tech students, with 80 percent gaining technical employment.

“Bitwise is a vehicle that has transformed lives and cities,” said Irma Olguin Jr., a fellow CEO and co-founder. “We look forward to helping more people left out of the digital economy to find financial independence and stability through increased employment opportunities, while bringing government digital infrastructure into the modern era with world-class software developed by the overlooked people we train and hire.”

The inspiration to support building a workforce in such a way stemmed from Olguin’s own childhood. She grew up in a rural town outside of Fresno, California, and her family had spent generations working in the agricultural fields. Her life path changed when she was given the opportunity to attend a university in Ohio and find a career in computer engineering.

Breaking the cycle of poverty is an important aspect of the company’s mission, which Bitwise Senior Vice President of City Expansion Amy Thelen said happens by finding the right environment. She said the company saw potential in Cheyenne and the workforce to create a tech economy. It was also made possible by raising nearly $100 million in venture capital.

She said the goal to invest in the region is not just for workforce purposes, but also community enhancement.

“We buy historically blighted buildings that have been vacant in downtowns, and in the urban core of the city, and we completely revitalize them,” she said.

Once the buildings have been renovated, students and the public are welcome to share in the Bitwise culture. Coffee shops, breweries, co-working spaces, event centers and more are integrated into the office. Thelen explained that the established buildings in five other cities are available for local businesses to lease out, which encourages economic growth.

“We want to touch as many people as we can in all of these different cities,” she said. “So, you’re going to see that.”

©2022 Wyoming Tribune-Eagle (Cheyenne, Wyo.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.