Capella Buys Hackbright Academy, Firm That Trains Women In High Tech, For $18 million

By Evan Ramstad
Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) SF based Hackbright Academy,  which in its first 2 years in operation helped 90 % of its grads get jobs in tech is showing that women CAN succeed in engineering.  Hackbright Academy’s 12 week software engineering program has been so successful at empowering women in tech that online education biggie Capella University  just plunked down 18 million to acquire the company.

Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

Capella Education Co. on Friday said it has acquired Hackbright Academy, a software engineering school for women, for $18 million.

The deal expands Capella’s reach in job-ready skills training. Hackbright, based in San Francisco, was started four years ago to train more women to work for tech firms in the Silicon Valley and elsewhere. The gender imbalance in high tech is acute and there are numerous efforts by employers and educational institutions to address it.

The company in a short time has achieved impressive results. Data from its first two years of operations showed that 90 percent of the graduates of its 12-week software engineering program got tech-related jobs and their average starting salary was $89,000.

Minneapolis-based Capella, which runs the online education service Capella University, will run Hackbright as a subsidiary that will remain based in San Francisco.

“Hackbright Academy is on the leading edge of innovation and support for women pursuing career advancement in software engineering,” Kevin Gilligan, Capella’s chief executive, said in a statement. “Hackbright’s mission alignment, strategic fit, and growth potential make this partnership an important element of Capella’s future.”

About three-quarters of Capella University students are women, chiefly because the markets the company focuses on — such as education and counseling — tend to attract more women than men. Most of its courses focus on certification training for people who have already started careers.

In February, the company expanded into training people to start or shift careers by entering into a venture with CareerBuilder.

In the venture, Capella uses real-time labor data from CareerBuilder’s jobs website to design educational programs. It is aimed at serving high-demand fields, such as web development, with short courses that can get people to work quickly.

Hackbright is another step in that expansion, Capella executives said. “It matches what we’re hearing from employers,” said Mike Buttry, a company spokesman.

In addition to software engineers, Hackbright has taught women to become support engineers, test and quality engineers, data scientists and project managers. Its graduates have found jobs at numerous well-known companies in Silicon Valley.

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