Responding to Desperate Need for Tech Talent: Flatiron School Makes its Denver Debut
15-week coding bootcamp and its renowned money-back guarantee start up
Now accepting applications for its first class, New York-based for-profit education company, Flatiron School, planted a flag in Denver this week – planning to begin its signature 15-week software engineering course this March at The Hub. Acquired by WeWork in 2017, Flatiron CEO Adam Enbar visited the coworking giant's Tabor Center location Wednesday, January 16 to kick off the expansion, meet and greet the Denver community.
When asked why this was a logical next step for his nontraditional schooling platform, Enbar said: "We believe this kind of education can work anywhere ... [When selecting new markets to enter] we begin by asking ourselves, 'where is there a vibrant community investing in tech?' We look for a delta between skills necessary to fill open jobs."
With people launching companies and careers wherever they're geographically inclined, many have flocked to Colorado. Still, too many high-tech jobs have gone unfilled.
What makes Flatiron unique, according to its staff and supporters, is its commitment to two things: Transparency and accountability.
"We're really focused on the ROI of education," Enbar says.
For starters, the organization's ever-evolving curriculum is tinkered with in real-time by a full-time Flatiron team.
"The first thing we do is hire great local people that know the community and are engaged in the environment," Enbar explains of the process of entering a new market. His grand plans include increasing accessibility of education and subsequent careers in technology to a variety of people with a diversity of perspectives.
"The single most important element of our success is hiring the best teachers," Enbar says, explaining that "tech in education is not to replace teachers, but empower them." For its Denver campus, Flatiron will hire a team of nearly 20, including a fleet of software engineering talent to school incoming classes.
"Instructors shape the experience for the local community," Enbar says.
Among Flatiron's many touted benefits are its infamous money-back guarantee should students not find jobs six months post-graduation. To that end, the program includes a robust career-services team including coaches and employer-relations professionals.
"It's exciting ... we're starting to change the mindset of employers," Enbar says. "There are more jobs than the people with skills to fill them. So long as they have the skills they need to be successful, we help them get a foot in the door."
Enbar gave a shout-out to fellow coding school founder, Jeff Casimir – executive director of Denver-based Turing School – who was in the audience the night of the kick-off.
Enbar says: "There's been a lot of value to [Flatiron's] partnership with WeWork," explaining he and his team have remained independent, though the new parent company has provided support, resources and community from programming to events to engagement.