When COVID-19 reached the Charlotte area, the mission of Tech Elevator became even more important.
With the goal of helping both individuals and companies acquire in-demand technology skills for the modern workforce, Tech Elevator provided hope and an exciting new career outlook for many who lost work and/or faced major financial challenges.
“During the pandemic, Tech Elevator’s role as a catalyst for career transformation and security in our communities has become more crucial than ever before,” said Nina Sweeney, who is a Project Manager with Tech Elevator. “We scaled quickly to meet the educational needs of our communities, including establishing a fully remote campus to increase accessibility to the boot camp nationwide.”
While Tech Elevator gave many people optimism as they saw the potential for new career opportunities, some students faced difficulties paying for the boot camp tuition because of COVID-19.
Determined to continue helping others with a career transition, Tech Elevator applied for and received a Workforce Partners Support Grant from The City of Charlotte.
The COVID-19 relief funding provided an invaluable opportunity to award full scholarships for 11 Charlotte residents to participate in Tech Elevator’s boot camp education. The scholarships covered the full cost of tuition, a value of about $15,500 per student.
“These individuals felt first-hand the impacts of COVID on themselves and their community,” Sweeney said. “The City’s grant will not only completely transform these students’ lives by providing coding training and career development but will lay the groundwork for our boot camp programs to support much larger cohorts of Charlotte residents in the future.”
The funding helped students who had little to no technical experience and learned the fundamentals of coding in Java. After completing the 14-week program, the students emerge as junior software developers ready to support local employers in need of tech talent.
“These students will see, on average, a $1.3 million increase in aggregate lifetime earnings compared to before attending Tech Elevator’s boot camp,” Sweeney said. “Those earnings will not only elevate the individual student but their family and community as well.”
During a time of economic hardship for many students, the boot camp participants found a renewed sense of hope for the future of their careers.
“The grant provided by the City of Charlotte to attend Tech Elevator has allowed a career pivot in my life that I wouldn’t have been able to afford otherwise,” student Jaimie Sanita said. “This
opportunity will give me the skills and knowledge to move into a career space that is much more pandemic-proof, as opposed to my last career in non-profit leadership, and thus provide more stability.”
Another student, Robert Cook, shared his gratitude: “Thank you City of Charlotte for helping me and my family through this tough time by taking a major financial burden off my plate. I will make sure the money is well spent with hard work and dedication to becoming a successful software developer.”
After receiving such a positive response from the students, Tech Elevator has big plans to continue serving the Charlotte tech community. The company is working to establish a campus in the City of Charlotte, increase its student population, and place the graduates with local employers to support the business ecosystem.
“As we have with each new campus,” Sweeney added, “we will be intentional with our growth in Charlotte, keeping our focus on our mission of elevating people, companies, and communities in the region.”
Tech Elevator received a Workforce Partners Support Grant from The City of Charlotte’s Open for Business initiative. Through the grant program, the City of Charlotte has awarded $3.5 million to workforce partners to provide programs for our community.