CHARLOTTE, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) – North Carolina is still feeling the impacts of the pandemic.
Just one year ago, thousands of people were laid off as the shutdown and social distancing had an impact on the economy. Instead of waiting to be called back to work, some people have found new careers and aren’t looking back.
No one expected a once-bustling Uptown to become a virtual ghost town as thousands were laid off or started working from home.
Jaimie Sanita worked for a non-profit and was one of the many people laid off.
“I had never been laid off before and to be laid off by such a challenging pandemic was really hard to deal with,” said Sanita.
Instead of waiting, Jaimie applied for a program directly through the City of Charlotte. The city paid for a 14-week course on coding, taught by leaders at Tech Elevator. The city was able to fund 11 people in the program by using leftover CARES Act money.
Jaimie was joined by 10 others from Charlotte who were also laid off.
“In Charlotte specifically we had a train conductor, we had a chef, we had people coming from retail, we had a photographer,” said Tech Elevator Instructor, Kelly Brucker.
People from all different backgrounds were now learning to code together. Coding helps make the internet connect and apps on your phone operate.
“Before this happened I wouldn’t even reset my modem, That was how anti-technology I was,” said Sanita.
But teachers say everyone in the coding program shared a common interest of solving problems.
“As someone who liked problem-solving, I felt drawn towards that process. I just feel like the opportunities I have are pretty amazing,” said Sanita.
Sanita and her classmates graduated last Friday and she is currently applying for entry-level software developer jobs in Charlotte. The program through Tech Elevator also teaches career readiness courses, like resume building and interview skills.
Right now Tech Elevator does not have a physical campus in Charlotte, but they are able to teach students virtually.
Leaders at Tech Elevators estimate there were 30,000 coding jobs in 2020, which is one of the reasons why they plan to open a brick-and-mortar campus in Charlotte within the next year.