Looking back: How a Partnership with Interapt Created Financial Asset Security for 20 Louisvillians

 

 

In the spring of 2019, The Humana Foundation invested $325,000 in a partnership with Interapt and the University of Louisville to help recruit and train residents of West Louisville for jobs in technology and software development. The Human Foundation is focused on creating health equity, and this project supports  that mission by addressing post-secondary attainment and financial asset security as root cause social determinants of health.  Founded in 2011 by Ankur Gopal, Interapt started as a mobile and web application development firm. The company has since transformed its business model and now provides tuition-free software development training, which helps to fill the tech gap by training a new generation of talented software developers.  After a three month classroom training program, students completed an apprenticeship which provided them additional real world learning and experience that further prepared them for their new careers.  “There are plenty of people out there with the aptitude and willingness to learn new skills and pivot into in-demand careers, but oftentimes people don’t know where to start,” said Interapt CEO Ankur Gopal, “through our training program and partnerships, we’re giving people the opportunity to change their lives and open new doors in today’s most promising fields.”  The University of Louisville acted as a neutral party to provide research and reporting around the effectiveness of the program as well as career support post-program.  In addition to collecting demographic and educational attainment data, researchers from the University measured participants’ outlook by asking a series of questions both pre and post program that explored quality of life and financial well-being. The Louisville Urban League provided housing and other financial support as needed.  General Assembly created curriculum that matched with industry needs and provided instruction.  After a three month intensive training, 20 out of 25 participants graduated, with a job placement rate of 100%. The participants experienced a 129% increase in salary, which landed them in the salary range of $35,000 to $55,000 a year. 

Beyond Workforce Development

The Humana Foundation’s focus on social determinants of health includes providing opportunities for educational attainment that leads to meaningful employment. Today, the technology industry is the fastest growing job sector in Louisville however many individuals who could benefit from jobs in this sector are ineligible due to lack of skills and training rather than lack of desire or capability.   This is especially true in West Louisville, where according to a report by the University of Louisville, the unemployment rate is roughly double that of the rest of the city and the median household income is less than $30,000.  Recruitment efforts for the program focused on individuals living in this disproportionately affected area of town as an opportunity to create financial stability and improve the lives of those who live there

It is a Win-Win-Win

This type of training is especially relevant for our current moment.  As an increasingly large portion of our lives move online, so does the demand for people with IT and software development skills who make this technological infrastructure possible.  The supply of individuals with this skill set is outpacing demand for this type of employee, resulting in an ever-widening tech talent gap. At the same time, and even in the same geographic locations, individuals are experiencing unemployment, underemployed or are stuck in low-paying, low-skilled jobs that leave them living paycheck-to-paycheck and unable to weather unexpected expenses and emergencies.  By providing technical training that aligns to industry needs, participants are able to obtain higher-paying jobs in the tech industry. This increase in earning power creates meaningful improvements in health and well-being for the individual and their families and improves the economy as a whole. “Giving individuals in marginalized communities the tools they need to end generational poverty is at the core of the work The Humana Foundation does.” said The Humana Foundation CEO Walter Woods, “Systems change work takes time, and rarely do we get to see the results of our investments as quickly as we did in our collaboration with Interapt.”

Where are they now?

Over half the graduating class has ended up working at Humana! After the Interapt program, Sarah Bizzell was able to quit her 7-year-long job at local grocery store’s deli and pursue a career in technology.   She is now a Trainer on the Humana Response Project Telecom Triage Team. “I have been exposed to several new technologies within the past few months at Humana. Recently, my manager has been asking me to add my General Assembly-acquired creative touches to our training materials. Aside from that, I never would have imagined a year ago that I would be in the process of buying and remodeling my first house. I’m very fortunate to have this job during these times and look forward to a career in software development.”

Jason Henderson is another graduate of the program, currently working as a Support Specialist at Humana on the Telecom Triage team. "I have been able to grow in ways I couldn't have imagined a year ago.” said Jason Henderson “This program has partnered me with some of the best people I have met in my life - people that are ready to take on challenges and work as a team to help find solutions. Interapt helped me evolve into a better employee, a better teammate, and a better person."

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