United Way program provides tech job training for Miami residents

United Way Miami is starting a technology job-training program with two local partners to boost career options for marginalized residents.  This photo is from a tech job hiring fair on Dec.  2, 2021, at Miami Dade College's Wolfson campus.

United Way Miami is starting a technology job-training program with two local partners to boost career options for marginalized residents. This photo is from a tech job hiring fair on Dec. 2, 2021, at Miami Dade College’s Wolfson campus.

Miami Herald

A new collaboration between United Way Miami and two local partner entities will enable adult residents from marginalized communities to learn the skills necessary for careers in the area’s burgeoning technology sector.

Called the United Way Miami Workforce Project, the program is the latest effort to help create a local tech talent pipeline and try to close the gender and racial equity gap here in the tech field.

Billionaire MacKenzie Scott, former wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, donated $25 million to United Way Miami and a portion of that donation will be used for the tech training program. It gives the United Way chapter the chance to offer specialized education on a large scale to improve workers’ on-the-job skills. If the tech program is successful, the United Way intends to expand training to prepare people for truck driving and medical coding jobs.

Mary Donworth, United Way Miami’s chief program officer, thinks the program presents an opportunity for local residents to improve their socioeconomic status.

“We went through this process … to look at all of these different career paths and look at what employers are looking for,” she said. “Tech, with all of the companies coming down here, surfaced as a tremendous opportunity.”

Initially, 100 Miami-area residents will be trained for computer coding and programming jobs. Participants will also get financial literacy training. They can enroll in 4Geeks Academy’s nine-week full-time program or a 16-week part-time program. Coding bootcamp 4Geeks Academy will provide the participants’ training with no upfront cost.

For this tech education push, United Way Miami is specifically targeting single female heads of household, military veterans and people of color. A financial screening will be done for applicants to determine if they meet the income criteria.

Justin Bakule, Social Finance vice president of impact investments, said providing tech training to individuals who can’t usually afford it will make a significant difference in the local tech economy. Registration for the program will begin on Aug. 2, with the first cohort starting a few weeks later.

“The situation you see time and time again nationally is job opportunities where access to job financing is there, but if people have no good credit or are formerly incarcerated, you’re locked out of the opportunity,” Bakule said.

Both full-time and part-time participants will receive a living stipend, and payment for the tech program will come with a stipulation. Participants that find jobs at certain wage levels after leaving the United Way program will repay the tuition through monthly payments. The money will go into a fund that will support future program participants.

4Geeks CEO Marcelo Ricigliano sees the United Way Miami Workforce Project as a different way of providing education in America. Participants have the incentive to do well because without landing high-paying jobs, he said they can’t pay back their tuition and pay for the education of future participants.

“That’s how you change education,” he said. “The way education is built in the US, outcomes don’t matter. All that matters is that you pay your loan. This is a proposal to change the way education happens.”

Michael Butler writes about the residential and commercial real estate industry and trends in the local housing market. Just like Miami’s diverse population, Butler, a Temple University graduate, has both local roots and a Panamanian heritage.

.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.