Students at Detroit Tech Elevator
Students at Detroit Tech Elevator. (Photo: Tech Elevator)

Hebrew Free Loan may be able to help with tuition.

More than 40 million Americans have filed for unemployment since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, but one industry not hit nearly as hard is the tech industry. A shining example of that in Michigan is Tech Elevator. 

Tech Elevator, on the campus of Wayne State University, is a 14-week, full-time and in-person coding bootcamp, teaching students to become software developers.

Tech Elevator students are seeing job offers come their way as companies look to onboard new technologies. Patricia Idema, the admissions coordinator for Tech Elevator’s Detroit campus, is witnessing this firsthand.

“There was already a large demand for software developers in southeastern Michigan because there are a lot of finance and auto industry companies that need that talent,” Idema said. “But now it’s booming from all kinds of different organizations that are suddenly encountering the challenge of reaching customers when they can’t ‘reach’ customers.” 

One of Tech Elevator’s goals is to increase diversity in its ranks.  

“We want to break that stereotype that it’s a white, male-dominated industry,” Idema said. “At the Detroit campus, we have many female and POC (people of color) graduates in our program.” 

Tech Elevator is looking to make inroads into the Jewish community. Campus Director Jeff Jeung believes an underutilized resource to connect the two is Hebrew Free Loan, which provides interest-free, loans of up to $10,000 to local Jewish college students in the Metro Detroit community.

Tuition for the 14-week Tech Elevator program is $15,500.

“In our mission to re-skill people in Metro Detroit, we’re aware there can be a financial barrier to doing something like Tech Elevator,” Jeung said. “We see Hebrew Free Loan as an opportunity to really help those who maybe don’t have the means to pay out of pocket, especially with everything going on right now.” 

As life returns to a new normal, Idema has an elevator pitch (no pun intended) to recent college graduates and those looking to switch professions who may be looking to dip their toes into the tech industry. 

“In the midst of every crisis lies great opportunity,” Idema said, quoting Albert Einstein. “You may not be able to control what’s happening in the world right now, but out of all of this uncertainty and chaos, you do have a choice to control what you do with it, and this may be a great opportunity to pursue something new.”

Students who qualify should reach out to Hebrew Free Loan. “We’re happy to help,” said executive director David Contorer.

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