General Assembly launches in Miami to skill-up the workforce for the future


The global tech education provider’s newest campus will offer training programs across data science, digital marketing, product management and UX design, in addition to immersive online coding classes.

By Nancy Dahlberg
General Assembly has officially announced its regional expansion into Miami, armed with its tech-training programs aimed at up-skilling employees for the future of work.
The New York-based skills training company will bring its training in data science, digital marketing and UX/UI design, as well as online immersive courses in coding, to South Florida. It will officially launch its programming on Nov. 1, working with economic development leaders and local employers to strengthen the pipeline of job-ready tech workers. General Assembly, founded in 2011, is also launching in Orlando and seven other cities around the country. 
The expansion to South Florida, GA’s 25th metro area, has been heavily rumored for a couple of years, including that the company was close to securing real estate. This all came even as the Miami metro area already offers robust coding and design bootcamps and workshops by homegrown player Wyncode Academy, as well as Ironhack and several other companies and nonprofits. But General Assembly’s leadership still saw a gap to close.
“There is a growing need for digital skills in today’s workforce, but the supply and demand we’re seeing in the labor market is simply not matching up,” said Jake Schwartz, GA’s CEO and co-founder, in a statement announcing the news on Wednesday. “Accessibility is a key component to this, which is why GA is bringing its award-winning online programs to Miami. In doing so, we’re able to provide students with the flexibility they need to keep their daytime commitments, all while transforming their careers with evening and weekend training.” 
Over the last year, GA built investment cases and saw the growing number of the tech jobs being posted, said GA’s Miami Community Leader Cari Perez in an interview. “Just in South Florida, we saw 47,000 openings around the five disciplines that GA teaches from software engineering to digital marketing, analytics, UX/UI design and product management.”
Indeed, according to trade organization CompTIA, the technology sector contributes over $22 billion to Miami’s economy each year, with local tech workers making a median salary of $67,820 that is 79 percent higher than the statewide average.
The company also announced it will be partnering with Wyncode, co-marketing each other’s offerings. “We’re proud that General Assembly has chosen Wyncode as their preferred education partner in Miami to support their online community of learners. Through this partnership, we will be able to highlight the many ways individuals can launch a new career in the South Florida tech community, either by learning with us in person or online with GA,” said Wyncode co-founder Juha Mikkola.
“Wyncode reached out to us a couple of years ago and we have been in contact and we know the great work that they do here,” Perez explained. “We will refer people who want in-person training to Wyncode and similarly they will be referring to us potential students who want to do online [courses] or analytics or product management, which they do not offer. It is a strategy to bring more content and more courses to more people and we are working together to do just that.”
General Assembly Miami will be based at CIC Miami, at 1951 NW 7th Ave., and some of its events will be there but at least for now it will be a “mobile campus,” taking its workshops and events throughout the tri-county area. GA already put on an event and workshop in West Palm Beach, for instance.
On its calendar is a number of free events, such as next week’s healthcare and AI panel put together with CIC and the Miami-Dade Beacon Council. There are also 2-hour workshops such as Intro to Data Analytics, free or costing $25-$30, and 7-hour bootcamps on topics like User Experience Design and Product Design, ranging in price from $100 to $120. “Into 2020 we will be offering a range of possibilities around wellness, health, the environment and how technology impacts them. But we will be heavy focused on analytics,” said Perez, something the companies in the area are asking for.
Every market has different needs and the offerings will be customized, said Tom Ogletree, senior director of Social Impact & External Affairs, adding that GA, acquired last year by HR firm Adecco Group, is more than a code school.
“The reality is all companies are becoming tech companies to one degree or another,” Ogletree said. While GA’s foundation was built on its immersive coding education, now analytics, machine learning, artificial intelligence, the Cloud and product management are increasingly in demand as the workforce needs to reskill and upskill, he said.
 “At the end of the day, we are a company that is working with individuals and employers to close skills gaps,” Ogletree said. “While coding and accelerated education will always be a pillar, we’ve come to a point that we are more than that.”
While the senior team isn’t ruling out a brick and mortar campus in Miami in the future, Ogletree and Perez tout the advantages of the mobile campus, a new model for GA, starting with the ability to mobilize quickly and bring access to more people.  “It is also a powerful way to understand the community and the market and gives us a framework to build upon,” added Ogletree.
The part-time courses in skills like product management or programming languages such as JavaScript and React cost $3,950. Its full-time immersive classes in software engineering cost more than $14,000, on par with competitors in the area. GA, like its local rivals, offers financing options.
General Assembly will also bring its enterprise programming to the Miami area. For instance, the company could offer intro classes, one-week accelerated courses, part-time courses or full-time transformation courses to employee groups around any of the five disciplines it teaches.
Companies also have access to GA’s career development services and its alumni network of about 70,000. GA has already started working with two enterprise companies in the area. ”It’s about helping the team that is not tech understand tech, helping the analysts become scientists, and giving them access to our talent and alumni networks to recruit,” said Perez.
On GA’s other campuses, this is becoming a larger part of the business, Ogletree said.  “For example, we are working with Guardian Insurance that is training all their actuaries to become data scientists. We are working with Adobe that is looking to create pathways for people from underserved communities into tech roles through scholarships and apprenticeships.”
Those are resources the area needs, as finding tech talent is frequently cited as a challenge for employers (while finding tech jobs is often cited as a challenge by workers).
“Part of what makes Miami’s innovation ecosystem so strong is the foundation of resources available to talent, entrepreneurs, and companies at every stage. Having a global brand like General Assembly establish a campus in Miami serves to further accelerate that growth,” said Michael A. Finney, CEO of the Miami-Dade Beacon Council, in a statement. “With a robust portfolio of classes online and on campus, and 70,000+ alumni worldwide, General Assembly is in a position to prepare our workforce for today’s rapidly evolving, tech-driven landscape.”
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Nancy Dahlberg