Indianapolis, IN—Nationally recognized non-profit coding bootcamp Eleven Fifty Academy officially launched a 5-year initiative called “Advancing Tech in 46218” last week in a room filled with more than 100 stakeholders from that community. Advancing Tech in 46218, funded by the Lilly Endowment, Inc., is a partnership of community organizations and educational institutions dedicated to disrupting systemic racism and generational poverty by providing opportunities in technology for the people of the Martindale-Brightwood neighborhood.
Advancing Tech in 46218 provides IT professional and web development courses through Eleven Fifty as a Martin University class, including university credits towards a degree. While taking courses, students have access to several kinds of support services, including childcare and career assistance. To provide these key wrap-around services, this initiative brings together existing organizations grounded in Martindale-Brightwood, including Eastern Star Church, Goodwill’s Excel Center, Innopower Indy, Martin University, and Rooted School.
The concept is simple, but Eleven Fifty Academy and Martin University believe the results will be transformative.
“Historically, the tech industry has not been optimally inclusive of certain groups—especially people of color. Advancing Tech in 46218 was created out of a goal and a need to disrupt the status quo rapidly,” said Eleven Fifty Academy founder and president Scott Jones. “Tech is a direct path out of poverty, offering rewarding, high-impact, high-paying careers right here in Indianapolis. And that’s good for everyone—good for the individual, good for our communities, good for employers, and good for society overall.”
Martindale-Brightwood, a neighborhood just northeast of downtown Indianapolis, is made up of about 74% black residents, and has an overall median household income of less than $24,000. This is a neighborhood in need of a new opportunity. “The average starting salary of Eleven Fifty Academy graduates is in the high $50,000s, which is more than double the median household income in 46218,” said Jones, “and it happens 16 times faster than a traditional 4-year college degree at a mere fraction of the cost.”.
Emil Eikyor, founder and CEO of Innopower Indy, believes tech can be that catalyst for renewed economic lift in this community. “The workforce is different today. People are working from home, people are more aware of the systemic issues people face, and the timing is right for Eleven Fifty Academy to come in and say, ‘We are also creating this deliberately, to help close the wealth gap, to put people in our state in a better position to earn substantially more dollars by improving their skills rapidly.’”
Shelley Ashley, Goodwill of Central and Southern Indiana’s Senior Director of Mission Advancement, couldn’t agree more. “There is a huge tech need in Indianapolis, and a huge group of people with interest who need help finding the path. We are excited to be helping students change the course of their lives and the lives of their families. We are delighted to see where this goes for our students.”
For Dewand Neely, chief operating officer at Eleven Fifty, Advancing Tech in 46218 comes down to his mantra of meeting people where they are. “I joined Scott Jones and the rest of the team at Eleven Fifty because I share their values. The talent gap will only be bridged by making tech education accessible to people from diverse backgrounds.” And that means meeting people where they are, understanding where they come from, and helping to provide a network of support with partner organizations who can open doors and tear down walls for tomorrow’s tech talent.
Interested residents of the Martindale-Brightwood neighborhood can learn more by visiting elevenfifty.org/advancing-tech-46218.
About Eleven Fifty Academy
Eleven Fifty Academy is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization focused upon high quality, immersive software development, web development, UX/UI design, IT professional and cybersecurity bootcamp courses designed to accelerate the learning curve for people of all ages and skill sets. The mission of Eleven Fifty Academy is to build an ecosystem of tech talent that financially benefits the individual, their employer and their community. For more information, visit elevenfifty.org. Eleven Fifty Academy’s headquarters is located in Indianapolis, Indiana.