FISHERS, Ind. (WISH) -- A local non-profit is helping veterans by teaching them tech skills that are in high demand. Eleven Fifty Academy is just off of Visionary Way in Fishers.
"We made a concerted effort to reach out veterans. I think we have a great opportunity to help those who are transitioning out of the military," Shawn Gardner said
Gardner is the Executive Vice President of Business Development at Eleven Fifty. He's also a veteran with 23 years of service.
Eleven Fifty Academy is a school that teaches coding skills. The 12-week boot camp is designed for students who want a career in the technology field. Although not solely for former military members, there are a lot of them here.
The school is owned by a vet, employs vets and teaches vets like David Whitt.
"With coding, it's like learning a new language, you start off not knowing anything and you just grow from there," Whitt said.
Whitt is an Indiana native who joined the military in 2001.
He served in the Air Force for six years before moving back to the Hoosier state. He would go on to a degree in network security but wanted something different and found Eleven Fifty.
He used his GI Bill to help pay for the program.
"They paid for me all the way through, and they give you a stipend as well, I believe it's staff sergeant pay." Gardner said. "There's a reason that veterans are the right candidates to fill this teach skills gap. They do come in with some life experience, maturity and the logic they need to be a successful coder, they come with coordination, the grit and the determination for success."
Eleven Fifty says their average starting salary for grads is $54,000 a year with some grads earning as much as $70,000 to start.
Gardner said the companies are very open to hiring vets with a tech background.
"They know how to take orders, they know how to give orders, they know how to show up on time, and for the most part they're drug free so those are all great attributes that companies are looking for," Gardner added
David Whitt is now helping to teach coding at Eleven Fifty.
"It's not an easy program, it's called boot camp for a reason, it's 12 weeks, it's demanding, but the reward is phenomenal, and when you finally do get the code to work you get elated, it's amazing," Whitt said.
Eleven Fifty says they are always looking for students, especially veterans.