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December 21, 2020

Bitwise Industries Awarded $1 Million To Support Underemployed & Unemployed Workers


FRESNO, Calif., Dec. 21, 2020 – Bitwise Industries (, today announced it is the recipient of a two-year grant of $1M from the James Irvine Foundation Board of Directors. The grant will allow Bitwise’s workforce development arm, Geekwise Academy, to launch more specialty courses and offer financial support to low-income women, minorities and marginalized populations in the Bay Area and Central Valley for high-wage, high-growth jobs in the tech industry. These marginalized populations include the formerly incarcerated, foster youth, members of rural communities, and more. 


“Geekwise is one of the most important parts of our company and these funds give our technical skills training programs even more low-income individuals,” said Irma Olguin Jr., CEO and co-founder of Bitwise Industries. “There is the assumption that technologists have ivy league educations, can only come from certain communities and have the same path into the industry. Geekwise empowers all people to gain the skills to participate in the digital economy.”


Tech is one of the fastest growing industries in the world and has a well-documented problem with diversity. Major players in the space have spent over $16 billion to address the problem, with little to no results to show for it. Geekwise, trains software developers from low-income backgrounds outside of major tech hubs to fuel the industry’s growth and create opportunities for individuals from marginalized communities. With this grant funding, Geekwise will target those who are unemployed and those working in minimum wage jobs that don’t offer opportunities for growth (i.e. retail, customer service, farm labor, etc.). This grant will also be used to sponsor low-income students from these groups in evening technology courses and support stipends for students.


To date, Geekwise has provided over 4,500 students the skills needed to succeed in the tech industry. Bitwise has intentionally cultivated a student population that is more than 50% female, 50% minority and 20% first generation. Over 80% of the individuals who have gone through Geekwise have found gainful technical employment. The organization is already one of the largest providers of vocational training for computer programmers in the U.S. and the grant funding allows the program to continue to scale to serve as many low-income people as possible.


About Bitwise Industries

Bitwise Industries was founded in 2013 by Irma L. Olguin, Jr., and Jake A. Soberal with the goal of activating human potential for the technology industry in Fresno, Calif. Bitwise now operates three robust lines of business that sustain and support this objective. Geekwise Academy trains people to code, with a focus on marginalized groups, to give them the skills for today’s job market. Bitwise’s commercial real estate provides a physical home for aspiring technologists, fast growing technology companies, and many mission-aligned companies that hire out of Geekwise Academy; all of which contribute to the ongoing downtown revitalization efforts of the cities where Bitwise is based. And, Shift3 Technologies is a custom software development shop that pairs senior talent with entry-level programmers from Geekwise Academy to build and deliver top quality software solutions to clients around the world. Learn more about Bitwise at


Media Contact:
Santiago Villegas
[email protected]