Detroit Labs now hiring for tech industry

DETROIT – It's a growing career field here in the city of Detroit.

Now, Detroit Labs is hiring people to work in the technology industry. All it takes is a little creativity.

"I used to be a makeup artist!” said Detroit Labs apprentice, Nurah Muhammad. “I worked for a well-known make up company."

"I was working as a graphic designer and I really was interested in something different, something more challenging," said Muhammad’s colleague Katie Hoffman.

They're two people with two completely different backgrounds but they both wanted the same thing: a new career.

"I knew I always wanted to be in the tech world,” said Muhammad.   

Muhammad, 38, is also a stay-at-home mom with two girls, ages three and eight. She didn't know where to begin finding a new line of work.

"My idea was just to see because initially I just did a random Google search," said Muhammad.

Her search led her to the Detroit Labs apprenticeship program. 

"Detroit Labs is a mobile consultancy. We make primarily mobile apps for our clients," explained Erika Carlson with Detroit Labs.

The only problem, Muhammad and 31 year old Katie Hoffman had no experience making apps but that was okay.

"Our company has a very strong teaching and learning culture already and we thought what if we could translate that into people who have no prior experience making software," said Carlson.

Muhammad and Hoffman were one of nearly 200 people who applied for this paid eight to 12 week apprenticeship program. Out of the 200, only eight to ten people are selected per class. After a lengthy application process, they got in.

"I had to do everything in my power not to explode in tears cause I was so happy!" said Hoffman.

And rightfully so. Each apprentice who successfully graduates from the program is automatically hired. Starting salary is around $40-50,000 and goes up significantly over the first couple of years.

"It's been a really good experience," said Muhammad. "The program it's designed for you to succeed. There's interactive learning. You're constantly engaging."

"It gives you an opportunity that you wouldn't otherwise have," said Hoffman.

Opportunities such as building apps for major clients.           

"The biggest app that I've worked on here was the Dominos Pizza app. I helped out with that. We worked on that for a couple of years," said Carlson.

They’ve also worked on apps for clients like Chevrolet and DTE Energy. A new class begins after the previous class graduates. To qualify, Detroit Labs is just looking for people with a love for creativity.

"It was incredibly difficult but I can honestly say it's one of the most rewarding things I've ever done," said former Detroit Labs apprentice, Elyse Turner.

Now employed after completing the program, former paid apprentices offer this advice to anyone looking for a career change but haven't considered the tech industry.

"You absolutely can do it,” said Turner. “I think if you are a determined person and you are willing to push through walls that seem like you will never get through them you absolutely can do it."

If you'd like to apply for the Detroit Labs apprenticeship program, click here.