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Wednesday, October 20, 2021

The Cost of a Career Change

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by Dewand Neely

Have you ever thought about changing your career but the cost was a deterrent? Consider this program that teaches tech skills 16x faster than a college degree and has enabled students to double or triple their income after just 90 or 180 days in a program that is offered at basically no cost. Sound too good to be true? Now may be the ideal time, as CARES Act dollars are available for a limited time (right now!). Enhancing your professional prowess does not have to require a hefty price tag. The hardest part of changing a career should be determining what you are passionate about. Some people discover what they want to do when they grow up as adults.

Many people during the pandemic have been furloughed or displaced. Due to concerns over economic recovery for certain industries, people are seeking more sustainable careers with upward mobility. Sometimes making a career change is something that you can’t afford not to do.

Since inception, Eleven Fifty Academy has worked tirelessly to provide economic solutions to aide students through their career transformation into coding. Addressing the financial side of the education equation has been challenging at best, especially being a nonprofit. When a student engages in one of our bootcamps, not only are they immersed in our curriculum for twelve to fourteen weeks, it becomes their full-time job, only they aren’t earning an income — yet.

With being an agile coding bootcamp, we have the flexibility to create on-demand curriculum within a concise period of time, sometimes within days. This is a great feature for our corporate partners who drive our curriculum to meet their needs. We are not beholden to any limits on our creativity. However, that also means that our students are not eligible for the standard financial aide or student loans.

Fortunately, our nonprofit has been supported by workforce initiatives through Indiana’s Department of Workforce Development as well as by other state, regional, and local funding mechanisms to provide scholarships for our students. Our job at Eleven Fifty is to help our students achieve their goal of up skilling towards a new career path in tech. Finding a way to pay for it is the top concern of anyone inquiring about our courses. Generous organizations such as the Lilly Endowment, J.P. Morgan Chase,Price Waterhouse Coopers Foundation, and Guggenheim’s “Indiana Women in Technology” IWiT and other grantors have provided scholarship opportunities for individuals across the state wishing to transition into a tech career.

Currently, CARES Act funding is making it possible for those who are unemployed, or underemployed, to get nearly all of their tuition covered. Transforming to a career in tech is now more accessible than ever. The window on CARES Act dollars closes on May 14th.

If the CARES Act dollars do not cover all of someone’s expenses, our founder, Scott Jones, created — in partnership with the State — a program titled Progressive Income Share Agreement (PISA). Students can borrow up to $10k and repayment is just 5% of their monthly income only when they get a well-paying job in tech. The repayment only begins after a graduate is placed into a high paying job averaging more than $55k per year. If they do not, they don’t pay it back. And the loan is zero interest.

If you or someone you know is interested in learning more about coding, but cost has been a deterrent, now may be the best time to give this sincere consideration. Between the PISA and CARES Act funding, there are financial mechanisms in place for enabling students to gain the tech skills needed to land a stable, rewarding, and high-paying job in tech without the financial stress. No one should have to worry about covering the cost of an education that improves their life.

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