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Hiring Hoosiers: Indy non-profit helps with career training in coding

Posted at 6:00 AM, Dec 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-04 11:02:21-05

INDIANAPOLIS — An Indianapolis non-profit coding academy is another organization that faced challenges of finding new ways to function when the pandemic hit.

With two physical locations for their tech school, in Fishers and in downtown Indianapolis, Eleven Fifty Academy went virtual as soon as COVID-19 hit central Indiana.

While many Hoosiers are facing unemployment and job changes, a career in coding and technology remains stable and is easily accessible for most Hoosiers.

"I definitely feared for my job just like anybody else would in the middle of a pandemic," Severa Cox said.

That has been the reality for millions of people this year. Many being forced into unemployment and others who chose a more stable career path.

Cox, 23, was working as a general manager at a national fast food chain. In June, she tried something new by taking a software development course at Eleven Fifty Academy.

"I decided to make the leap into the tech industry because I was looking for a better work-life balance and more opportunity for growth," Cox said. "I actually surprised myself mainly because a lot of the skills were transferable. Skills like communication, networking, hospitality skills, and of course good old fashioned teamwork was great in the environment."

Cox graduated from the academy in September, immediately becoming a learning assistant and then landed a job as a software engineer.

Eleven Fifty Academy teaches software development, cybersecurity, web development, user experience and will be soon teaching data science and artificial intelligence.

"By switching careers and getting into software and web development and security variable too, can literally double their compensation, not just for a job but for a career and what we find is that people find a high level of satisfaction in these careers," Scott Jones, president and founder of Eleven Fifty Academy, said.

Eleven Fifty switched to a virtual platform for health and safety. They delivered second monitors to all of their students so they could still have an immersive experience in their courses.

LEARN MORE | Eleven Fifty Academy

With unemployment rates surging, this is a small commitment that can lead Hoosiers onto a stable career path, no matter the person's background.

"In 90 days we can literally bring you from wherever you are as a bartender, wait staff, or truck driver," Jones said. "Or whatever you are and bring you, if you are interested and passionate about tech and problem solving and puzzles, then you will probably resonate really well with what we teach in 90 days.

"And we are able to train them into skills that employers want it is not just the tech companies, it is in general, almost every company is a tech company and they are able to get jobs that are paying really well. Our average starting salary is in the high 50s and after the first year and the second year, is 20 percent raises so many of our people that are out two or three years are in the 80s, 90s even six-digits, that is transformational for people’s lives and that is why we are about this. Transforming people's lives, give them more opportunities."

A program started on November 30 for liberal arts college students around Indiana who can take the program for free for five weeks while they are on their break and skill up on tech skills. This program is meant for juniors and seniors in college currently.

Eleven Fifty has anywhere from 18 to 65-year-olds enrolled in the program. They offer intro classes every other week for an opportunity for Hoosiers to try it out before committing for 12 weeks. People can try it for three hours to see if they fit.

Hoosier veterans are also encouraged to try Eleven Fifty Academy. Eleven Fifty partnered with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation and its Hiring Our Heroes campaign to offer fully paid schooling for veterans with the GI Bill post 9/11. Veterans can have the opportunity to learn and be prepared for high-demand careers in this field.

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