Mission Accomplished: Tech Academy Data Analytics Bootcamp

When some of Buffalo’s best and brightest tech employers found they had trouble finding the best and brightest candidates, they decided to partner with a regional nonprofit. TechBuffalo to launch a collaborative training program. With support from Data Analytics Bootcamp, the first class of 19 Western New York residents successfully trained and graduated from the program, qualifying themselves as strong candidates for the companies that supported the project: VAC Auctions, Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Western New York, M&T Bank, Moogand Rich products.

New Tech Academy Data Analytics Bootcamp (launched by M&T Bank in late 2020) is an immersive 12-week training program that prepares participants for data analyst roles with regional technology employers.

100 percent retention is a rare achievement for an intensive, community-based bootcamp, especially the first time it’s offered. 

Apart from the ingenious ingenuity of the initiative, it should also be noted that each of the participants who participated in the program graduated. This first statistic is quite remarkable, according to General assembly, the global skills training expert who facilitated the bootcamp and administered similar programs in cities across the country. Not only did participants successfully complete the course, but they also received extensive job placement support – a strategy that has resulted in a number of graduates being placed in stable careers right here at WNY.

“In other cities, employers compete relentlessly for tech talent, but in Buffalo, business leaders are collaborating to develop solutions that meet their collective talent needs and elevate our community,” said Kelly Martin, head of the Tech Academy. “We are grateful to local employers who answered our call to join the coalition and support the Tech Academy Data Analytics Bootcamp, the first program of its kind in Buffalo. This was an important next step for our city’s technology and innovation ecosystem, as we accelerate our work to create talent pools that help our community access tech careers. Congratulations and thank you to the students who invested so much time and energy to complete the 12-week program and are now ready for jobs in technology.

Among the students already hired:

  • JahJah Quarles, who grew up in Buffalo, will join M&T Bank. Quarles joined the Data Analytics Bootcamp after a seven-year career as a correctional officer with the state Department of Corrections, a role that helped prepare him to be a calm, critical thinker, even in difficult situations. high stress situations.
  • Namita Acharya, a Williamsville resident, was hired by ACV. Acharya entered the program with no data experience, but was quickly inspired by the collaborative atmosphere and opportunities available in the tech industry. She previously worked in higher education, holding positions focused on recruiting and promoting international student belonging.
  • Souleymane Barry, a Buffalo resident, is Moog’s latest tech recruit. Barry kicked off his career by joining bootcamp while pursuing his undergraduate studies in computational and applied mathematics at the University at Buffalo. Previously, Barry worked with the WNY Law Center and UB’s Educational Opportunities Program.
  • Waheedulah Faiz, a Buffalo resident, was hired by Evergreen Health, one of many local organizations interested in aspiring data analysts trained through the bootcamp. Faiz arrived in Buffalo last year from his home in Afghanistan, where he worked for the US Embassy and the Afghanistan International Bank. He enrolled in bootcamp because he saw it as a path to greater stability and a rewarding career as his family settled into their new home.

One of the Tech Academy’s goals is “to serve traditionally underrepresented groups in tech, especially people of color and women.” Another goal was to create a free program financially supported by The Tech Academy, TechBuffalo and their five employer partners. The students even received a cost-of-living allowance, to enable them to fully dedicate 12 weeks to the tech bootcamp. To sweeten the pot, Douglas Development donated lunches and covered parking costs for attendees.

Of the students participating, about 52 percent identified as a person of color and 63 percent indicated their household incomes are below Erie County’s median income.

Learn more about the Tech Academy:

  • M&T Bank launched The Tech Academy in late 2020 to broaden and strengthen the region’s tech workforce
  • General Assembly provided students with instruction on data collection, analysis and visualization
  • Students learned how to turn data into compelling stories and actionable insights to help organizations make data-driven decisions, which is a skill that is in high demand regionally and nationally.
  • Students received support from career coaches and social impact specialists to help them overcome any challenges and successfully complete the program

“Launched as a pilot program to inform future community training initiatives, this first Data Analytics Bootcamp has already generated interest from other companies who want to join the coalition of employers to expand workforce training opportunities. ‘local work,’ said Sarah Tanbakuchi, president and CEO of TechBuffalo. . “While we are proud of the collaboration between local employers, we are even more proud of our students who have come from so many different backgrounds to participate in this program and become the newest members of the technology workforce of Buffalo. The early impacts generated by the Tech Academy through this bootcamp and its past initiatives demonstrate its ability to foster regional collaboration and develop local tech talent.

“In modern economic development, talent is the key differentiator that separates companies and entire regions from their competitors. What’s special about Buffalo is that local employers here know we’re stronger together, and this Tech Academy Bootcamp is the perfect example of how we’re working together to create a diverse workforce. and inclusive and make Western New York a magnet for tech talent,” said Mike Wisler, CIO of M&T Bank. “Investing in inclusive technology training programs makes a difference in people’s lives, strengthens local businesses and helps spark inclusive economic growth. With more tech talent, Buffalo will attract more and create more high-growth tech companies.

“ACV is honored to have been a partner in supporting Western New York’s first data analytics boot camp and to collaborate with our region’s innovation leaders to help turn local, motivated talent into skilled technologists,” said Bahman Koohestani, Chief Technology Officer at ACV. . “All hiring partners have come together with a common goal of propelling the region forward as a hub of technology and innovation, and I don’t think this will be the last time we collaborate in the same way. way. Along with the whole apple cider vinegar family, I am incredibly proud of all the students who have gone through this rigorous and immersive program, which is no small feat! Thanks to the program, we are delighted to welcome three new data analysts who will support many of ACV’s key business units and functional groups with data analysis and problem solving to improve operations and innovation.

Kevin Ruggiero, chief information officer at Moog, said, “This pilot bootcamp was a fantastic learning experience for students and participating companies. It brought us in contact with talented people from different backgrounds that we would probably never have met otherwise. Deepening the local technical talent pool while providing exciting new opportunities for this first class of graduates is truly a win-win. At Moog, we’re proud to have been part of that.

“We are excited to help create new paths to careers in technology and proud of the people who are taking steps to develop their skills and contribute to the future success of our region,” said Dr. Michael Edbauer, President, Highmark Blue Cross. Blue Shield of Western New York. “Collectively, we are responding to the need to develop our local tech talent by providing all members of our community with equal opportunities to engage in career development.

“One of the most inspiring themes of the Tech Academy Data Analytics Bootcamp is that it’s never too late to improve your skills and reinvent the future,” said Jon Zirnheld, director of IT business operations at Rich Products. “Our inaugural cohort included a diverse and talented group of students who are sure to make an impact with their future employers, and we are excited to see what will happen both for this innovative concept and for the graduates of the program.”

“The growing demand for technical skills in Buffalo reflects workforce dynamics in cities across the United States and around the world – companies are eager to hire skilled talent but are struggling to meet those needs in staff through traditional recruiting,” said Lisa Lewin, CEO of General Assembly. “The Tech Academy embodies the promise of what multi-sector collaboration can accomplish, from expanding access to education to reaching more diverse candidates. We at the General Assembly are proud to work with such exceptional nonprofit and employment partners, and to play a role in creating new pathways for communities to retrain and seek employment with a higher salary and greater stability.

The bootcamp – hosted by M&T Bank – is held on the 23rd floor of Seneca One’s Tech Hub.

For more information, visit his website, www.techbuffalo.organd follow TechBuffalo on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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