CodeBoxx, the St. Petersburg-based technology training company, graduated its first Tampa Bay cohort on May 13. The company, which relocated its headquarters here last year, has had a successful run at preparing Canadian students for careers in technology and is now offering its signature 16-week accelerated training program in the Florida market.
CodeBoxx helps address the region’s pressing need for tech talent while enabling people to move from low wage to higher paying jobs. There are no prerequisites and deferred tuition means students can train for high-demand jobs as web, app and software developers without an upfront financial investment. Graduates are quickly placed at area companies or are employed by CodeBoxx Solutions Group, a consulting division serving leading technology firms.
Stories from the graduating class reveal just how transformative the CodeBoxx training can be for lives and careers. Stephen “Brooks” Kloppenburg knew he was capable of more than the lawn care job he had been doing. Michael D’Amico had a background in finance and international business, but had been driving for UberEats while looking for an opportunity that would tap his passion for technology. Hayleigh Hevener went from experiencing homelessness to possessing some of the most in-demand skills in the marketplace, thanks to the help of an aunt who supported her during the training period.
Now all three, along with their fellow graduates, are interviewing for jobs in Tampa Bay, taking advantage of CodeBoxx’s placement services and network of corporate partners.
The program is taught by industry experts who coach and mentor rather than lecture. Classes are held at the St. Petersburg campus as well as virtually.
Students work on real-world problems, individually and in teams. Soft skills are prioritized, including leadership, teamwork and an understanding of the broader business enterprise, not just the tech perspective.
“Our goal is to train well-rounded technologists who are ready for employment day one after finishing the program,” said Meg Charles, CodeBoxx co-founder and chief strategy officer.
The CodeBoxx is committed to enlarging the pool of people who see themselves in tech careers to include more women, people of color, and groups like veterans and formerly incarcerated people. With the full support of their investors, CodeBoxx has a stated corporate commitment to promoting inclusivity and diversity in the field of technology – what they call “Techquity.” Their goal is to recruit 30% of their students from underrepresented groups.
CodeBoxx has formed partnerships with nonprofits who can help identify and support nontraditional candidates. The company is working with the St. Petersburg Foundation to act as their nonprofit charitable arm to apply for grants and raise funds for student support until they can form a CodeBoxx foundation.
The intensive program necessitates a full-time commitment and can’t be balanced with a job, says Charles. “Not everyone can go 16 weeks without earning income, so we are exploring partnerships and funding that can bridge these gaps and offer opportunities to talented people may need a little help,” she added. “The CodeBoxx philosophy is that a career in technology should be based on potential not privilege.”