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Holberton School Tulsa: Upskilling the locals, and attracting outside talents

The assumption of 19th century education was that building a student’s knowledge base is everything. But, today, with the biggest library that has ever existed at everyone’s fingertips (the internet), skills are what matter. Content is not the problem. Learning how to learn is the future of education.

It’s time for Open Educational Resources. The education system needs to evolve at the same rapid pace as the technology sector, which is the fastest-growing, changing, and evolving industry in history.

Making Education accessible to the many is the core mission of Holberton School. We empower motivated and talented people to succeed in their dream careers. Also, we aim at helping communities to upskill, attract and retain tech talent. 

As part of that effort, in 2020, we extended our accessibility in the USA by partnering with the George Kaiser Family Foundation and the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation to open a Holberton School in Tulsa

Tulsa’s fun and vibrant culture and entrepreneurial spirit have built a city that embraces inclusion and champions big ideas. In the middle of a technological renaissance, Tulsa’s emerging technology sector is on its way to making the city a new American tech hub. 

Tulsa’s leaders have made significant commitments to diversify the city’s economy and grow its tech jobs infrastructure. Countless private and public sector partners have developed innovative programs to attract tech companies and investments to the Tulsa area and supply them with highly-trained employees. 

With organizations like Tulsa Remote bringing Tulsa onto the national stage for remote working, and groups like Tulsa Innovation Labs and 36 Degrees North making Tulsa a place for startups and innovative technologies to bloom, there has never been a better time to think about joining the technology sector in Tulsa!

Along with plenty of job opportunities in Tulsa, there are lots of reasons to learn to code in this stimulating and promising environment. For example:

  • Holberton School Tulsa offers up to $1500 monthly need-based assistance for eligible students;
  • Holberton School Tulsa’s flexible financing options include a reduced Income Share Agreement for students who live in Tulsa after graduation, students can see their ISA repayment rate reduced to 10% of their income for 3.5 years after graduation.
  • Tulsa boasts a 61% lower cost of living than big cities like New York and a 43% lower median house price than the national average. 

Since its opening in January 2020, Holberton’s Tulsa school quickly outgrew its original premise and will soon offer a new 12-month program and will double in size by April 2022

“Anyone can learn to code! Computing can be found everywhere in today’s world and, to build solutions to real-world problems, we need software engineers with diversity of thought and experiences. Holberton not only also recognizes that diversity and collaboration are important, but actively removes barriers to foster diverse coders and uses peer-learning as a critical component of developing both our technical and soft skills.” — Kelsie, Cohort 11 Holberton School Tulsa.

Whether you are a recent high school graduate, have recently become unemployed, or are looking to go back to school to change careers, there’s a place for you at Holberton School Tulsa! Come learn Full-Stack Software Engineering, Web Development, AR/VR, Low Level & Algorithms, or Machine Learning! Apply now.

Sources: The Tech Future Has Arrived in Tulsa ; Next Stop For The Great Tech Migration: Tulsa

“Campus Culture”: When Holberton School gets involved in promoting culture among students

The 4th industrial revolution, which we are living through now, is the convergence of many disruptive technologies. But these new technologies have brought with them challenges of diversity and inclusion. Our students acquire knowledge in Computer Science and strong skills in Software Development to shape the future of society.

As we believe diversity and inclusion are paramount to innovation. More viewpoints, life experiences, cultures, and voices mean more community-driven ideation and problem-solving; We want a cultural grounding to be part of that education.

Being part of that effort, Holberton School Tunis joined forces with the University of Paris Dauphine I Tunis, IHEC Carthage, and IPEST in a public-private partnership to promote a culture of open-mindedness and sharing in its student environments. “Culture Campus” was born, an innovative concept aiming to bring young students from different backgrounds together.

The launch of this new concept was announced at IHEC in Carthage on February 25th, 2021, with the participation of Amine Ben Amor (Holberton School Tunis), Amina Bouzguenda (University of Paris Dauphine I Tunis) Hassen Mzali (IHEC Carthage) and Manef Abderrabba (IPEST).

Amine Ben Amor emphasized the importance of culture in student life, starting with his own experience with the students of Holberton School Tunis: 

“At the beginning of 2020, we received a delegation from Santander Bank with major financiers and bank managers from Madrid who had the curiosity to visit this small school, having no teachers, no diplomas, even no prepayment and which encourages talent. These guests had exchanged with the students and asked them some questions such as: ‘What is the last film that you watched?’. The answer was: ‘An Andalusian Dog’ by Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dali. Our hosts were impressed. 

This is to say that what makes the difference between a good engineer and another good engineer is culture, it is what he can relate and exchange with his colleagues. This is proof that at Holberton School we have succeeded in giving our students a taste for beautiful things. Students need culture, to know the global code of the arts. Making culture a pillar of training can only be beneficial to students, it differentiates them in the job market, giving them the key to success”.

The “Campus Culture” concept revolves around two axes of action:

  • Integrating cultural activities into the training programs provided by these establishments;
  • Creating a network of clubs located within the four establishments. These clubs will enrich student life through an agenda of events designed and developed by the students themselves with a view to mixing populations among campuses.

We constantly challenge ourselves to look into the future of our society as well as the future of the job market to train the best leaders and learners of tomorrow. Promoting and teaching universal values through culture to students will help them to be better prepared to face the challenges of tomorrow.

Stay tuned! Follow Holberton School Tunisia on Facebook to know more about the next “Campus Culture” event.

Inauguration video [FRENCH]: https://www.facebook.com/HolbertonTUN/videos/419708335759915 

Fintech project built by Holberton School Lebanon’s Students

Opened in March 2020, Holberton School Lebanon is offering to students with prior knowledge in programming to specialize in Machine Learning, Web React, or Blockchain & Cryptocurrencies via our Specialization programs. The school, which has strong connections to local companies, gives students the opportunity to connect with industry professionals to use their tech skills for project collaboration.

Beirut’s startup Cedar Oxygen has offered two Holberton School Lebanon students, Rana El Khoury and Mohsen Abdelaal, the opportunity to work on a Fintech platform: a P2P FX platform to match the Supply and Demand of Dollars.

beirut lebanon student holberton school
Rana El Khoury and Mohsen Abdelaal, Holberton Lebanon Machine Learning students

The objective of this platform is to:

  1. Facilitate access to fresh dollars to address industrialists’ financing needs;
  2. Offer a transparent supply/demand backed FX rate to the industrialists;
  3. Engage the Lebanese diaspora through a remittance platform to support the actual economy in Lebanon.

While Rana previously had some knowledge and skills in programming, she believes that Holberton School helped her brush up on these skills and filled the gaps in her knowledge. 

On the other hand, Mohsen is an Electrical Engineer who is passionate about software programming and is determined to become a successful software engineer; to him, what really matters is how to write clean and efficient code.

For both of them, the Holberton School opportunity became possible thanks to the support of the Lebanese International Finance Executives (LIFE), which provided them with a scholarship that covers the full costs of the program.

Rana and Mohsen were both interested in this project because they felt that they could help their country to solve a major economic crisis. 

After 2 months of work, the project was shipped: Cedar Oxygen’s internal algorithm now calculates the provided FX Rate. The Corporate and the Lebanese diaspora can directly access the platform through Cedar Oxygen’s website, using a unique login and submitting  FX needs to buy or sell US dollars. 

Mohsen found the project challenging since he needed to meet the client’s requirements while delivering excellence on the technical side. This gave him tremendous experience and allowed him to enhance his soft skills. He says “Always work hard, practice, and dream big to reach and achieve your goals in life.” 

Cedar Oxygen was delighted by the work done by Rana and Mohsen and offered them both a full-time opportunity upon their successful graduation.

To know more about Cedar Oxygen P2P FX platform project, visit this website.

How a Foundation turned Tulsa into a startup city

Experimenting, catalyzing, and risk-taking for big goals are essentials for every Silicon Valley entrepreneur; they are also for Ken Levit, Executive Director of the George Kaiser Family Foundation (GKFF) – a philanthropic organization based in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The city, long known for being the Oil Capital of the World, is in the process of re-inventing itself to renew the shininess of the early 20th century.

George Kaiser is a Tulsa-native who led the energy family business to be highly successful. But as the city’s pivotal role in the energy industry eroded, dragging its economy along, he created a foundation to give back and help his community with the mission of focusing on early childhood education as a way of interrupting the cycle of poverty and, more broadly, to give equal opportunity to all.

GKFF achieves that mission by focusing on three main pillars: talent, economic opportunities, and city life quality. Levit chose to drive the foundation with a startup mindset “philanthropy can be good at trying new things, having a high-risk tolerance for failing, and if it’s a flop, we can try something else!”.

By partnering with Foundry College, Tulsa expects to provide talent that the U.S. economy needs. Their program management curriculum prepares students to accept one of the 22 million jobs that should be created by 2027. At the same time, the college Salesforce Administrator program targets the 400k jobs expected by 2022. Michael Basch, the managing partner at Atento Capital, estimates that students graduating from the Salesforce program will be able to find remote jobs paying up to $65,000 a year. Atento Capital and GKFF partnered to offer both programs for free – each valued at $6,000 – to local students. 

The foundation also partnered with us, Holberton School, a software engineering program training Silicon Valley grade developers. With campuses on five continents, our graduates are getting hired by the world’s top companies like Apple, Tesla, Rappi, and LinkedIn. Students don’t pay their tuition until they find a job. For the Tulsa campus, GKFF is sponsoring a $1,500/month need-based living assistance for students. The unemployment rate in computer-related occupations dropped from 3 percent in January to 2.5 percent in May. The pre-pandemic U.S. economy had 918,000 unfilled IT jobs and included the suspension of H-1B visas. Individuals using these visas had been used to fill many openings in computer-related professions. With these changes, the market for software talent is expected to be hot.

Levit explains that while “the world of economic development is focusing on recruiting companies, by throwing money and tax incentives at them,” they wanted to take a different approach that is about people. On top of upskilling the locals, GKFF is investing in attracting outside talent. The Tulsa Remote program offers to anyone who wants to move and work from Tulsa a $10,000 stipend, a desk in a co-working space, and help to find a home. The results are just astonishing: they received over 20,000 applications with thousands of additional candidates currently in the pipeline. Since the program started in 2018, 250 people have moved to Tulsa with a 95% retention rate, leading to the purchase of 40+ homes. The program attracts high-quality talent and provides an average salary of over $100k. These statistics are not surprising, considering these remote workers are working for top companies like Cisco, ADP, Deloitte, IBM, and Microsoft.

The city itself is starting to attract the interest of leading businesses. Tulsa was among the top two choices for Tesla’s next facility, competing with Austin. A talent pipeline development leader working for Google told Basch that the company would consider opening offices in the city once they could provide 500 software engineers, a goal that he hopes to achieve soon with the help of Tulsa University and Holberton School.

But that’s not it. Levit also wants its fellow neighbors to enjoy life in Tulsa and is looking to have a “culture, stimulation, a rich and vibrant life.” Among many projects, The Gathering Place park, which Basch describes as “Disneyland meets Central Park,” is the most distinctive. A 100-acre green space developed with a half-billion-dollar investment, featuring entertainment for kids and adults.

The pair recognize that there is still a lot to be done and that the city’s economy – still mainly driven by oil, gas, and aerospace – faces significant challenges made worse by the pandemic. But they also believe that it is a turning point for the local economy. COVID-19 has drastically increased the number of companies willing to let their employees work remotely. They are now also considering hiring remotely, where talent can be cheaper than in the megalopolis. Basch thinks that NYC, with Michael Bloomberg, was “the MVP city for 2001 to 2010,” followed by Texas for 2011 to 2020. He believes that Tulsa is strategically placed for the decade to come.

Learn more by listening to Holberton Co-founder Sylvain Kalache interviewing GKFF’s Ken Levit and Michael Basch.