California Tech Company offers online training in 5 cities


“ ” ‘ ‘ — (TNS) — A technology company focused on developing a diverse workforce and reducing poverty that spans generations has announced its expansion to Cheyenne, along with four other locations across the United States

Bitwise Industries operates one of the largest federally accredited apprenticeship programs and offers careers for instructors and employment opportunities for students. To do this, the priority is to break down barriers for those interested in the field.

“Our goal is to bring our proven, repeatable approach to as many communities and people as possible,” said Bitwise CEO and co-founder Jake Soberal. “What succeeded in our first five cities will be part of the stories in these new regions of how investing in undervalued people and places can create a more inclusive and representative economy.”

The impact on Cheyenne will begin next month. Residents will be offered four introductory online courses in a technical skill for $250 each, and financial assistance is available for those who may not be able to afford the fees. If they continue to show interest in the industry and its potential after one or more six-week courses, they have the option of becoming an apprentice.

An apprentice is paid between $17 and $22 an hour to take classes and learn how to become an entry-level professional, with access to healthcare benefits, counseling, transportation and childcare while throughout the training. They can take classes virtually, but a rented workspace and classroom to build community will be available in the coming months.

When the average student graduates from the program, they move into a position that pays over $60,000 a year. The company said it has trained up to 8,000 non-traditional technology students, 80% of whom have secured technical jobs.

“Bitwise is a vehicle that has transformed lives and cities,” said Irma Olguin Jr., CEO and co-founder. “We look forward to helping more people excluded from the digital economy find financial independence and stability through increased employment opportunities, while bringing government digital infrastructure into the modern age with world-class software developed by the neglected people we train and hire.”

The inspiration to support building a workforce in this way stems from Olguin’s own childhood. She grew up in a rural town outside of Fresno, California, and her family spent generations working in the farm fields. Her life path changed when she had the opportunity to attend a university in Ohio and find a career in computer engineering.

Breaking the cycle of poverty is an important aspect of the company’s mission, which according to Amy Thelen, Senior Vice President of City Expansion at Bitwise, happens by finding the right environment. She said the company sees the potential in Cheyenne and the workforce to create a tech economy. It was also made possible by raising nearly $100 million in venture capital.

She said the purpose of investing in the area is not only for labor purposes but also for betterment of the community.

“We’re buying up historically degraded buildings that were vacant in downtowns and in the urban core of the city, and completely revitalizing them,” she said.

Once the buildings are renovated, students and the public are invited to share in the Bitwise culture. Cafes, brasseries, coworking spaces, event centers and more are integrated into the office. Thelen explained that established buildings in five other towns are available for local businesses to rent, which encourages economic growth.

“We want to reach as many people as possible in all these different cities,” she said. “So you’ll see this.”

©2022 Wyoming Tribune-Eagle (Cheyenne, Wyo.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.


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