When Arch Grant recipient Ola Ayeni moved to St. Louis to launch eateria, he knew he wanted to tap into the city’s momentum as a tech hub. But instead of reaching out to already-established developers, programmers, and coders, Ayeni decided to generate tech talent from the ground up. So he started a bootcamp.
A developer bootcamp, that is.
But what’s that all about?
In response to St. Louis’ booming tech sector — and the jobs it creates — Ayeni sought out people with limited experience and created an educational program called Claim Academy. The goal? Teach novices Full Stack Java and .NET and get them career-ready in just 12 weeks.
Among Claim’s first group of graduates, nearly all of the students received full scholarships or had jobs waiting for them upon graduation. What’s more, some students scored higher on industry standardized tests than students with four-year computer science degrees.
Claim’s bootcamps are intense — students spend 60 hours per week learning valuable programming languages — but it’s worth the hustle.
“Without Claim Academy, I don’t think I would have had the push I needed to jump into programming,” said graduate Kate Rands. “It was an important experience for me, because it provided me with an environment where I had time to focus on learning these skills, and where I was being actively encouraged to learn.”
Claim Academy graduates have gone on to land tech jobs at the likes of MasterCard, Mercy Healthcare, and Centene, just to name a few.
“These people aren’t going to go to San Francisco or New York…they’re going to stay here in the jobs that St. Louis needs,” says Claim Academy.
It goes without saying that cultivating a skilled tech workforce from the ground up works wonders in terms of economic development. But don’t take our word for it. St. Louis has been dubbed the #1 startup city in America, not to mention the $1+ billion in venture capital invested in the city since 2013.
While these accolades are hard to ignore, Claim Academy isn’t concerned about competing with startup incubators or elite coastal universities. There’s only one metric that matters: connecting people to jobs. Those boot camps are tough, there’s no doubt that graduates are prepared to ignite careers in arguable the hottest tech city in the country.
Want to apply to Claim Academy? Click here.
Want to hire a Claim Academy graduate? Click here.