By: Amy Jones

Marketing Manager at Innovate Birmingham

This blog was originally published on The Switch.

Since you’re reading the Switch blog, there’s a legitimate chance you’ve heard of Innovate Birmingham. You likely know us as “the nonprofit that does coding classes” or “oh yeah, they do free tech boot camps.” Nothing wrong with that — we’ve worked hard to build that reputation here in Birmingham.

But what you may not know — and what sets IB apart — is that we’re here to help beyond free Full Stack Web Development and Data Analytics training for local unemployed and underemployed residents.

We know that daily realities don’t stop for anything, and that includes potential life-changing opportunities. Our boot camps last 14 weeks, and many don’t have the financial wherewithal or support system to be able to take almost four months to learn new skills.

There may still be bills to pay, family members to care for and other obligations to meet. Or participants may have personal needs that go beyond educational training.

For those applicants that are accepted into our program and show a demonstrated need, we are committed to helping remove the barriers to a more fulfilling and upwardly mobile career.

Some of the services we can assist with include:

  • Anger management
  • Dental care
  • Emergency and non-emergency medical care
  • Mental health assessment and treatment
  • Substance abuse treatment
  • Childcare services
  • Emergency rent assistance
  • Professional development, such as resume building and mock interview practice
  • Pregnancy services

The above is just a short sampling of how we can help during the program.

We also believe in the continuum of care — continuing to provide care for participants even after they’ve completed our program.

We do this in myriad ways. We have the Innovate Birmingham Alumni Council, which allows our alums to stay connected to IB and keep up with the program as it grows and evolves. Alums can also be personally involved with the growth of and promotion of IB through the Alumni Council, and can grow a valuable support network of other alums.

We also have alums that come back to us months or years down the road for help with job searching. All of our participants, from Cohort 1 to our newest, Cohort 15, are considered part of IB.

At Innovate Birmingham, we don’t just train local talent — we invest in them and their families. Those who participate get a life-changing opportunity to move into a fast-growing, essential tech field.

Meanwhile, for our community, we are feeding a circle of economic prosperity, both local and statewide. We believe that our homegrown talent will stay home and continue to reinvest back into Birmingham.

To learn more about IB, visit www.innovatebham.com

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