Bonnie Arbittier / Rivard Report
Just as quietly as its first class started in April 2016, The Iron Yard will close its San Antonio location on April 7. The coding school graduated its third and last cohort of eight junior front end developers on Feb. 24.
The South Carolina-based company had a short-term sublease, which ends on March 31, with Cogeco Peer 1 for its space located in the Pearl Brewery complex. The Iron Yard’s vacant space at the Pearl has already been rented.
The staff for the San Antonio coding school are busy assisting the last students with employment placement before closing its doors, campus director Stephanie Guerra told the Rivard Report.
“Right now, we’re only providing career support for the students,” Guerra said. “We were notified of the decision to close the San Antonio campus Feb. 10.”
Update: Geekdom will provide former Iron Yard students and San Antonio-based employees with six months of free membership, Geekdom CEO Lorenzo Gomez told the Rivard Report on Friday.
“I don’t want them going to Austin,” he said. “I want them to stay in San Antonio and work for Geekdom companies.”
The downtown co-working space offered the same deal to Rackspace employees when the managed-cloud provider let 200 local employees go in February.
Since the students graduated two weeks ago, they have been interviewing for positions. Guerra expects all will be hired by local employers in need of entry-level front end developers.
The Iron Yard’s strategy has been to target emerging markets that need entry-level coding professionals. They look for cities with this need that also have low costs of living and a higher quality of life. Each city gets a suite of courses according to the needs of students looking to enter that particular local job market.
The company’s San Antonio coding school isn’t the only one across the country that’s closing. The Iron Yard has reduced the number of its locations from 20 to 15. The Iron Yard CEO Peter Barth was unavailable for comment before publication, but staff provided his statement on the closing of the San Antonio location.
“We have made a very tough business decision and are closing our San Antonio campus. We have finished out our last cohort completely, including Demo Day, graduation and career support.
As a company, we will be focusing on increasing opportunities at our other campuses as well as investing in our growing corporate training programs, online learning platform and new part-time course formats. We remain committed to providing world-class immersive courses for career changers, and to ensuring we are offering the right courses in the right markets where we can have the most impact.
We will still have a presence in San Antonio through our outstanding alumni who we know will continue to have a positive impact on the local tech industry. We feel privileged to have been a part of the community and want to thank our partners, graduates and advisory board members for their support.”
“Our CEO let us know they wanted to focus on opportunities at strategic campuses and focus more on their corporate training programs,” Guerra said. “They also started rolling out part-time programs beginning with the Houston and Austin campuses. They explained that these changes [closing five campuses] will help position The Iron Yard for long term growth.”
San Antonio Coding Academy Operations Manager Yady Diaz said that it’s unfortunate to see The Iron Yard leave San Antonio, but that the local chapter is closing “is not a reflection of the potential for developing this market.
“San Antonio remains a rich source for tech talent,” Diaz said.
“I feel like we still need more options to train tech workers,” Guerra said. “Luckily we still have [The Iron Yard] Austin campus on South Congress Street.”
The Iron Yard offered females and minorities a $1,000 discount on tuition, which benefited many in San Antonio in particular, according to Guerra.
In 2014, The Iron Yard also launched #YesWeCode, a national initiative to help 100,000 young women and men from underrepresented backgrounds find success in the tech sector via its scholarship fund. The Iron Yard spearheaded this national effort in conjunction with Dream Corps, founded by civil rights leader, former adviser to the Obama White House, and current CNN political analyst Van Jones.
As for Guerra, it has been nonstop activity since the official closing notification.
“My focus right now is getting all students placed in jobs and to continue working on my own project, Puro Pinche,” Guerra said. “I hope I can continue to make an impact on San Antonio because I work in communications and in connecting people to each other and to the puro culture of our city.
“I want to showcase the authentic nature of San Antonio in everything I do, including in my next venture.”