A tech education company is setting up shop in Detroit to add to training options for local workers.
New York-based General Assembly, which says it targets companies’ most in-demand workplace skills, chose downtown Detroit as one of nine locations where it is setting up small, flexible campuses in emerging markets this fall with the intent of expanding alongside demand.
General Assembly has full campuses in New York, Boston and San Francisco, but it is starting in Detroit in a co-working space: Bamboo Detroit in the Julian C. Madison Building. It is renting event space from Bamboo, giving Bamboo members access to its programs and providing work space there for its Detroit manager, Kiana McLeod.
McLeod plans a launch event Thursday and expects General Assembly to serve several hundred students this fall and winter with classes, workshops and events. Seven months after launch in new markets, General Assembly’s events usually draw around 50 attendees and 10-15 for in-person workshops. It has 20 campuses and 70,000 alumni globally.
The online and in-person training institute is starting out in Detroit with its “bread-and-butter” programs, according to Sarah Tilton, general manager of new markets. It will offer a software engineering program to start, and then early next year add user experience design and data science. Classes generally center on design, marketing, technology and data.
“This new-market strategy is definitely based on growth,” McLeod said. “My ethos is just wanting to come into Detroit to be a resource to the ecosystem that has existed since before (General Assembly) has come here.”
It offers classes to help workers boost skills or learn new ones, and provides training tailored to specific companies. McLeod declined to comment on specific local clients.
General Assembly is not accredited by a U.S. Department of Education-recognized accrediting body and cannot make use of federal student loan aid. It is licensed as a school in the states in which it operates, and offers certificates of completion and networking opportunities.
Course costs vary by state; a cybersecurity for developers course in Illinois costs $3,950, an online data analysis circuit course costs $1,250 and an immersive software engineering course is $13,950, according to General Assembly’s website. It offers and advertises a variety of financing and lending options.
General Assembly will be competing for students with traditional universities, as well as training institutes such as Detroit-based Grand Circus. Training is a buzz word in Detroit as the city looks to grow its skilled labor force.