Access Labs’s Software Engineer is a profiled program in the Plugging In Report.
Who is served: Low-income adults
Number of participants served annually: Approximately 200 enrolled students in 2018
Location: DUMBO, Brooklyn
Frequency/Duration: Monday–Friday, 9 a.m.–6 p.m., 15 weeks
Eligibility Criteria: Applications must be 21 or older at the start of the program, earn less than $35,000 per year, hold a high school degree or equivalent, and be legally authorized to work.
Application process: Applicants submit a written personal statement and complete both an admission interview and technical review
Skill level: Advanced
Outcomes: Careers in software engineering
Partnerships: WeWork, Flatiron School, 2U
Cost: $0 upfront. Upon securing a job in tech, graduates pay a percentage of income in monthly installmentsuntil tuition is covered.
Sources of funding: Flatiron School, Tuition
What makes this program stand out? Access Labs is a Flatiron School initiative geared towards removing barriers to accessing intensive, bootcamp-style tech training for low income New Yorkers.
The program launched in April 2018 and operates out of the WeWork Dumbo space. Access Labs is committed to creating an equitable tech ecosystem and equipping students with the soft skills they need to succeed in their tech careers.
To prepare admitted students for the rigor of the full-time, on-campus immersive, all participants complete a 100-hour introduction to programming course before stepping on campus.
The technical curriculum offered through Access Labs is nearly identical to the coursework in Flatiron School’s flagship software engineering immersive: a full-time, 15-week program broken into 5 3-week modules starting with the fundamentals like HTML5 and CSS to get students comfortable with object-oriented programming. The program culminates in a showcase of independent portfolio projects.
What do participants need to succeed? The Access Labs program is designed for individuals seeking a full career transformation, and so it requires a major time commitment and motivation. Even with deferred tuition, the time commitment of the program may present barriers to some students who need additional support in covering non-tuition costs such as childcare and food while they are enrolled full-time.
What does the organization need? Additional support for students to fully immerse themselves in the tech training. There is a need to ensure that students understand financing options and have a variety of financing options.