Did you know that anyone who has been laid off due to COVID-19 is eligible for $14,290 in grant money from the government to take Coding Temple’s bootcamp? We touched base with Katie Sindelar from the Coding Temple team to learn about eligibility requirements, why the WIOA approved Coding Temple, and how this WIOA program can prepare displaced workers for the tech job market.
Katy, tell us about your role and how you work with students at Coding Temple!
My role is to facilitate the process of getting Coding Temple students WIOA-approved as smoothly as possible. I am the middle point of contact for the American Job Center network hubs and the students seeking eligibility. Essentially, the students and partner hub staff inform me step-by-step how the process is going, how fast the students are moving through it, what has been completed, and what still needs to be completed to result in WIOA eligibility.
What is the WIOA?
WIOA stands for the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act which is a US law that’s designed to help job seekers access employment, education, training, and support services to succeed in the labor market. WIOA training funds are designed to serve dislocated workers, adults, and youth who are in need of training to enter or re-enter the labor market.
What does it mean for Coding Temple students that you’re now WIOA-approved?
This is a tremendous opportunity for Coding Temple to really prove to the community that our program truly is transformational. Our goal has always been to provide a great program that changes lives for the better and there is no better way to do that than to support something through this program who is going through some hardships or has faced hardship throughout their careers. Another benefit of being WIOA approved is that we can now go to our partners that hire our graduates and offer them incentives to hire our graduates. Any company that hires a student that has been funded by WIOA qualifies to be reimbursed up to 10% of the students salary. It’s truly the definition of a win-win situation for everyone involved.
What are the requirements for a student to use WIOA grant money?
At a high level there are 4 groups of individuals who would be eligible; Adult (increase employment, job retention earnings, and career advancement), Dislocated Worker, Out-of-school Youth, Incumbent Workers.
Who is the ideal applicant for this grant?
The ideal candidate would be someone who is interested in future-proofing their career by exploring a new opportunity in tech. There is no better time to make a career change then when a pandemic forces you to explore something you’ve already dreamed of doing.
How does a student apply?
Simple! First apply with Coding Temple and go through the approval process. Once you have applied your student relations manager will walk you through the process of getting approved for WIOA funding.
Do they first have to get accepted into Coding Temple?
Yes, all WIOA students go through the same process as any of our students who take the program without WIOA funding.
How does the WIOA grant compare to other funding options like a traditional loan or an ISA?
WIOA is a grant that you need to qualify for that doesn’t need to be paid back. A traditional loan you can defer payments until post graduation but you still have to pay it back. An ISA you’ll only start paying once you get started with your new career in tech, but you’ll be paying the most in tuition over the course of the repayment for education.
Do students pay this money back?
Was it difficult to get approved?
We had to submit an application, similar to getting approved by the state for higher education. Once that was submitted it had to be presented to a board for approval. The whole process took about three months.
For us this wasn’t as rigorous as you would think it was. We were approached by the Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership to apply to this program. ‘The Partnership’ approached us after a successful launch of their Chicago Codes initiative where we were able to secure meaningful employment for 90% of graduates that were minorities in impoverished communities. The main goal was to find candidates who often face barriers to training, employment and career advancement. The Chi.Codes initiative was the most challenging undertaking Coding Temple has ever taken on.
Was the government interested in Coding Temple job outcomes during the approval process? Were they interested in curriculum etc?
Given our track records with the Chi.Codes program, our outcomes report was the main driving factor in getting brought in and approved into this program. We have a 98% placement rate within 9 months post-graduation and 96% placement rate within 6 months post-graduation. For the Chi.Codes program, we had a 100% placement rate amongst graduates!
How many of your students were displaced due to COVID-19?
So far we’ve seen an increase in enrollments for career changes up 40% in 2020-2021 so far - due in large to the pandemic. We are actively trying to find and promote WIOA as an option to displaced workers as it is an opportunity most people don’t know about.
Could you share your favorite success story from a student who was laid off in the last year due to COVID and used this grant?
Ida is a student story that I would love to share with everyone. Ida had lost her job due to the pandemic. She was struggling to find the right role for her and decided to enroll into Coding Temple. Ida did not have any coding experience prior to taking the program. She worked very hard each and every day, and after graduating the program she was able to successfully land a six figure position!
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