Bronze Valley Accelerator and Innovate Birmingham announced on January 20 the launch of gener8tor Upskilling, a free training program to help Alabama residents obtain critical digital skills for in-demand jobs. Funded through a grant from Microsoft, the program will kick off its first, virtual statewide class in June 2021.

“Bronze Valley’s mission is creating an education-to-opportunity-to-outcome pipeline through investment, technical assistance, connections and support for strengthening education,” said Bronze Valley President & CEO Neill S. Wright. “Our partnership with gener8tor continues to emerge as an integral component of our efforts.

“The Upskilling program will enhance those efforts,” Wright added. “It will bolster Alabama’s technology ecosystem by increasing the pool of diverse talent for both entrepreneurs and established tech companies.”

Upskilling Alabama will be open to all Alabama residents seeking to develop new skills or enhance existing ones in digital marketing, project management or sales. The seven-week, cohort-based program will include:

  • Self-paced virtual curriculum from Microsoft and LinkedIn to learn skills for in-demand digital marketing, project management or sales roles, and to earn certifications and badges;
  • One-on-one concierge support from the gener8tor team on the skills content, plus coaching on interview skills and resume, LinkedIn profile and cover letter writing;
  • Virtual access to a network of peers who can support each other and form a community;
  • Opportunities to interview with companies ready to hire candidates with these skills, in partnership with Innovate Birmingham’s summer bootcamp programs.

At the end of the seven-week program, participants will have the ability to leverage the resources of these organizations to access job opportunities in their community, or at national companies hiring for virtual jobs.

The Upskilling program is the latest outgrowth of the partnership between Bronze Valley and gener8tor. A nationally ranked startup accelerator, gener8tor provides a turnkey platform for the creative economy, including pre-accelerators, accelerators, corporate programming, conferences and fellowships.gener8tor

“gener8tor Is focused on helping communities invest in themselves through projects just like this one,” said Joe Kirgues, co-founder and partner at gener8tor. “We are excited to partner with Bronze Valley, Bronze Valley Accelerator and Innovate Birmingham to help people learn new digital skills and get the experience they need to succeed in jobs with local and national employers.”

Innovate Birmingham meets the talent needs of employers in the Birmingham region by harnessing the potential of local talent. It provides holistic support and career development for aspiring tech professionals, producing programs that align with local industry standards.

“This is a great initiative for our community,” said Katherine Zachara, executive director of Innovate Birmingham. “We are excited to expand the demand-driven training opportunities available in our community through this partnership with Bronze Valley and gener8tor, made possible with support from Microsoft.”

Microsoft recently announced its global skilling initiative, which seeks to help 25 million people worldwide whose jobs have been affected by COVID-19 gain new skills by the end of 2021. gener8tor will leverage its proven accelerator playbook, which provides individualized mentorship and coaching to startups across the country to help individuals get upskilled.

Bronze Valley is a nonprofit, 501(c)4 community development financial institution (CDFI), and the only CDFI in Alabama focused on venture capital. The impact the organization has achieved over the past three years indicate both the level of need — underrepresented founders’ historic lack of access to mentorship, investor networks, and professional assistance — and the enormous potential now only beginning to be recognized and realized.

A partnership between Bronze Valley and gener8tor, Bronze Valley Accelerator supports the growth of startups emerging from Birmingham and throughout the Southeast.