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National Apprenticeship Week: Transforming Lives

Apprenticeship Highlight: Faith Orozco

National Apprenticeship Week is underway, and we are honored to celebrate all of the humans who successfully navigated an apprenticeship opportunity and are helping to rebuild the nation’s economy, advance racial and gender equity, and support underserved communities. Bitwise Industries is one of many U.S. Department of Labor Registered Apprenticeship Programs, meaning that individuals in our program are provided opportunities in the technology industry with job training that includes a minimum of 2,000 hours of on-the-job training and 144 hours of instruction. 

And because we believe in paying people for their work, Bitwise also provides apprentices with a full-time salary that includes medical benefits. Bottom line? Bitwise Industries’ Apprentices earn a living wage, work on real-world projects, and bridge the gap between learning and working.
Our Registered Apprenticeships are helping to address the nation’s workforce challenges, alongside many of our valued partners. One of those partners is Goodwill Industries of Northwest Ohio, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of people with disabilities or other disadvantages through employment, training, and job placement opportunities. Goodwill Industries of Northern Ohio has served over 6,000 individuals throughout Northwest Ohio, and placed over 250 people into employment through their mission services, similar to Bitwise Industries’ apprenticeship programs. Today, we highlight the journey of another apprentice, who took a chance and surprised herself with what she could truly accomplish both in work and life. Read on to learn more about her transformational story!

Today we celebrate:

  • Human: Faith Orozco
  • Role: Developer
  • Focus: WordPress
  • Apprenticeship: 2019-2020

Faith’s life before her first Bitwise Class

Faith’s story begins like a lot of stories do—she was a student at a local community college, working at a grocery store to pay the bills, but ultimately unfulfilled in what she was doing. Self-described as “living for the weekends,” Faith was simply going through the motions of class, work, and home. Unsure of what she wanted to pursue in life, Faith began exploring what she was truly interested in, and found herself googling things like coding, web development, and Fresno coding. The latter brought up Bitwise Industries, where she took her first step towards becoming a web developer, and ultimately a new fulfilling career.

Online blogging was actually my first exposure to HTML. I thought it was cool, but it seemed intimidating—something that I wasn’t going to be able to do. But I decided to take that first step.

The Bitwise Class experience in Faith’s eyes

Like so many “first” experiences in life, Faith felt intimidated by her first Bitwise coding class. But as soon as she walked in, the friendly and casual atmosphere melted away her nerves. Turns out she was actually worried about nothing, and Faith left feeling encouraged to keep pursuing her new goals. As she completed classes and began building her skillset, Faith was invited to join the WordPress Apprenticeship where she and others tackled a huge project—redesigning and rebuilding the website for the Caruthers District Fair. From late nights to last-minute updates, this project became a milestone for Faith, a marker of her skills in action and a physical piece of work to be proud of.

The website is something I could still show people to this day. I can say, ‘I made that website!’ It’s really cool to just be able to show people what I do, and how well it turned out.

Faith’s greatest takeaway from the apprenticeship?

Faith points to her communications skills as one of the best takeaways from her apprenticeship. Through being a developer, she’s learned how to communicate and collaborate with others. Ironically, Faith wanted to become a developer so she wouldn’t have to talk to a lot of people—tech is often an isolated career, but not at Bitwise! Through her apprenticeship Faith gained experience not only communicating with her team, but also with clients and other coworkers.

My communication skills have gotten so much better since becoming a developer. Even though I’m mostly working with myself, I’m learning how to communicate with people through our project partnerships.

What changed after the apprenticeship journey for Faith?

Reflecting on her apprenticeship, Faith wholeheartedly believes she has a big future ahead of her. Before her apprenticeship, she didn’t have a vision for her future—she was just floating through each week. But after completing her apprenticeship, Faith has skills to put on her resume, an actual web project to show off, and confidence in herself. Hands-on projects gave her experience, collaborating with others gave her communication skills, and connections with her fellow apprentices, developer leads, and coworkers gave her an encouraging and engaged tech community. The apprenticeship experience radically transformed the life Faith had envisioned for herself, from the woman working at Walmart feeling unfulfilled, to the confident web developer with a beautiful career ahead of her.

I have a big future ahead of me. Before my apprenticeship, I didn’t have a future for myself. But now I know there’s good skills on my resume.

What does Faith’s future look like?

Faith’s future is bright, and will continue to shine as she pursues her career in web development. And beyond the job opportunities, Faith feels more confident in her endeavors looking forward. The apprenticeship experience provided her with a confidence boost, and continues to do so with every project she completes in her new role. As a full-time web developer, Faith still takes advantage of every moment to learn new skills and challenge herself. After all, her journey alone speaks to the personal transformation possible if you just take that first step.

I feel confident in what I do now. It’s something that I’m working on and will continue to work on. I look back on Little Faith and think about how nervous she was—I’ve already overcome that.

Looking Forward

National Apprenticeship Week is just the beginning! Our community of apprentices are full of stories just like Faith’s, with inspiring milestones and transformations that speak to Bitwise’s mission of creating opportunities in tech for underestimated individuals. Be sure to check back this week for more apprentice highlights on the blog, and follow along on social media to hear great stories from our apprentices and Bitwise community—including info about the student journey through the first class, apprenticeships, and becoming a full-time tech employee.