Mexican immigrant and entrepreneur Liliana Monge knows that in today’s economy tech skills help individuals thrive in the workforce. Yet access to quality tech training is often limited, leaving low-income and minority students behind. Recognizing this disparity, Monge and her husband, Gregorio Rojas, founded Sabio, a software engineering training program in Culver City, California. “Our goal is economic empowerment through technical training and community building,” Monge explains. Among Sabio’s programs is an intensive boot camp that teaches participants how to code in just 12 weeks. Since 2014, nearly 100 students have passed through Sabio’s doors and virtually all of them have experienced substantial salary increases and access to new job opportunities as a result.
“Our graduates have seen their annual wages increase by around $30,000, on average,” Monge says. “And they’ve also gone on to work in completely new industries.” One Sabio graduate, for example, went from working as a fitness instructor to a job as a junior software engineer, and another went from a career in nursing to one in software development. “These two examples are illustrative of Sabio’s impact,” Monge says.
We need immigration reform to ensure that the best and brightest individuals can stay in the United States and contribute to their communities.
Like Monge, who moved to Los Angeles from Mexico with her family when she was 5 years old, many of Sabio’s students are first- or second-generation immigrants. “Our students, like many immigrants, are extremely motivated and hardworking,” Monge says, “and Sabio helps them contribute to their fullest potential.”
Not surprisingly, given her personal and professional experience, Monge is a strong proponent of immigration reform. “We need immigration reform to ensure that the best and brightest individuals can stay in the United States and contribute to their communities,” she says. “The current system is a barrier to the kind of economic and social impact that individuals like our Sabio graduates are capable of making.”