With Financing and Support, Devon Became a Software Engineer
Alchemy Code Lab Career Impact Bond graduate
Loretta loved her part-time job as a theater crew member for Miami-Dade County’s Department of Cultural Affairs, but she had to take on exhausting shifts as a FedEx package handler to pay the bills. On top of a demanding work schedule, she was also the sole caretaker for her mother, who was battling cancer.
Loretta learned about the United Way Miami Workforce Project—a Pay It Forward Fund pilot to upskill Miami residents for in-demand jobs—in United Way’s newsletter. Designed by United Way Miami and Social Finance, the pilot enabled low-wage earners in Miami-Dade County to enroll in a local coding bootcamp called 4Geeks Academy at no upfront cost. Learners would only repay program costs if they landed and kept a job above a certain salary, and they also received supportive services like a living stipend option to help them persist and succeed.
I didn’t think the tech world was open to me because I thought I’d have to go back to college and I have a lot of student loans … but as I read more about this United Way program, I thought, let me give this a shot.Loretta, United Way Miami Workforce Project Graduate
Loretta enrolled in 4Geeks Academy and received a living stipend to help cover the bills while she took time off from her other jobs. This flexibility allowed her to fully immerse herself in the training. “Without the living stipend,” Loretta said, “I would not have been able to do this at all.” Throughout the bootcamp, she also received career counseling support from the GeekForce, which helped her build out her resume and LinkedIn profile for coding jobs and create a GitHub profile that would stand out to employers.
Loretta aspires to become a coder at a large company. In the meantime, she’s working as a Social Impact Manager for 4Geeks, who liked her so much they couldn’t let her go. She enjoys representing the company at events and cultivating relationships with tech employers. Meanwhile, Loretta continues to build up her coding portfolio and has multiple projects on her roster, including working on apps with partners she met during the program.
If I had known about this opportunity earlier on I would’ve taken it. I just didn’t know it was for me. I’m a mom, I’m a wife, I’ve had several careers. But there are opportunities like this out there; you just have to stick with it and commit yourself. It’s a phenomenal opportunity that could really change your life.Loretta, United Way Miami Workforce Project Graduate
Loretta was compensated for her time spent talking about the United Way Miami Workforce Project.